Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Shrink Your Church in One Easy Step

The Federalist has a very helpful article on “How to Shrink Your Church in One Easy Step”.  Of course, informed readers already know that step:

… A number of Christian denominations have already taken significant steps towards liberalizing their stances on homosexuality and marriage, and the evidence so far seems to indicate that affirming homosexuality is hardly a cure for membership woes. On the contrary, every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership.

I don’t want to steal Alexander Griswold’s thunder, so do go read.  He summarizes what has happened to several denominations that are going full rainbow.  But his summary of changes in North American Anglicanism particularly warms my heart.  And to avoid unseemly gloating, I better conclude with said summary:

In 2002, the number of baptized U.S. members of the Episcopal Church stood at 2.32 million.  By 2012, that number had fallen to 1.89 million, a decline of 18.4 percent. Meanwhile, attendance has fallen even more steeply. Average Sunday attendance in its U.S. churches was 846,000 in 2002, but had fallen 24.4 percent by 2012 to only 640,000. Other signs of congregational liveliness have fallen even further. Baptisms have fallen by 39.6 percent, and marriages have fallen by 44.9 percent.

As for the ACNA? It’s seen its membership rise by 13 percent and its Sunday attendance rise by 16 percent in the past five years. Since 2009, the ACNA has planted 488 new congregations. In 2012, the entire Episcopal Church managed to plant four new churches.

No comments: