New Churches Will Not Reverse Falling Christian Numbers

I had never seen the number of deaths compared to the number of Christian conversions until I encountered this link. There are lots of assumptions built into such a broad analysis. We never know for certain what the future will bring. What he wrote reflects other statistics.

The link author has planted Protestant churches. He says it is an exciting thing to start a church. Christian sites discuss planting churches all the time and imply it is the solution to falling Christian numbers.

The author points out, however, that planting churches will not reverse the downward trend. There are about 300,000 Protestant churches in the U. S. If the average net increase of non church people (not stolen from other churches) per church was two each year, which he says is not an unreasonable number, this would increase the number of Christians by 600,000. This raw number appears large.

However, out of the U.S. population of 320 million, about 2.6 million die each year. If half of these deaths, largely among the most religious group, the elderly, it would mean a loss of 1.3 million. This makes the hypothetical 600,000 added too small for a sustainable total number of Christians. New start up churches help offset this loss but their numbers are small.

The young pastor is enthusiastic in his desire to find a solution to this problem. He knows planting churches cannot grow numbers enough to reverse the trend.

To me the trend can only be reversed by better alignment of church values with societal values.

4 Responses

  1. Juan Ruiz

    Mark Twain called the Book of Mormon “Chloroform in print.” Many priests and pastors today are very much the same way: unable to come up with a decent homily or sermon. This is what separates them from the televangelists, who are, essentially, entertainers. Perhaps if seminaries spent more time training students in how to speak and write, people might stick around.

  2. Schurkey

    There’s the dichotomy.

    You say “To me the trend can only be reversed by better alignment of church values with societal values.”

    But the Church(es) (or any religious organization) would say “the trend can only be reversed by better alignment of societal values with church values.”

    The church wants society to change to meet Church expectations. The only way that happens is superficially (i.e., forced) when the church enters politics. When church (synagogue, mosque, whatever religion) and the State collude, the real suffering begins.

    Separation of church (religion) and state is essential to NOT repeat the Inquisition.

    1. Schurkey 8:55 Thanks for that post, it is right on the mark. The faith has wanted society to conform for 2000 years. But, society has gone where ever it wanted to all that time. That will continue. I’ve quoted this here before–it’s from an economics book, “Resistance to change is like toothpicks in front of a bulldozer.”

    2. Jinx II

      Schurkey, “Separation of church (religion) and state is essential to NOT repeat the Inquisition.” Right on!

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