The Decade of Christian Decline

decade of decline2000-2010 can best be labeled as a decade of decline for American Christianity.  David Roozen’s recent piece in the Christian Century provides an important look at just how rapid the decline was for conservative/evangelical Protestants, mainline/oldline Protestants, and Roman Catholics.  As a percentage, the declines were

  • oldline/mainline: 13%
  • Catholic: 5%
  • conservative/evangelical: 1%

So What?

After decades of progressive Christianity, it should not be surprising to see the mainline/oldline is declining more rapidly than other Christian groups.  It is, however, significant to observe that both conservative and progressive Christianity is declining.  It important to note that Roman Catholicism is also declining.

The only group that grew during the last decade was Pentecostal & Holiness.  This is also the youngest category among those listed.  Over the decade, the Pentecostal & Holiness traditions grew at a rate of nearly 7.5%.

The future of American Christianity will differ from the past.  If things proceed throughout the current decade (2010-2020) as they are now, I expect the rates of decline among the declining groups will be far higher than was the case last decade.

  • What do you think is most likely (continued steady decline, slower decline, more rapid decline, stagnation, slow growth, or rapid growth) for each group shown above during the current decade? Explain.
  • How did your local congregation fare in terms of membership between 2000 and 2010? How does that compare to the overall national decline or growth rate for your tradition?


  1. I assume you get your info from the 2010 US Religious Census conducted this decade by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, listing 236 religious bodies. The participants included 217 Christian denominations. The decline among many churches will continue beyond 2020. I expect this will continue until we have two major Christian churches. Obviously there is one church Christ recognized as his own. All these other churches are man-made teaching conflicting and false doctrines. For example, is baptism a commandment and is it performed by immersion by one having authority from Christ? The Savior knows the answer, but man debates those doctrines found in the Scriptures. This being said, there is another church that grew in number this last decade as the 4th largest church in America. The church of Jesus Christ of LDS grew 45 percent this last decade to 6,144,000 members. In the year 2020, it can be projected to be the third largest church in America surpassing The United Methodist Church, which lost 4.7 percent of its membership the last decade and continues to decline ever year. There is one true gospel found on earth that Christ recognizes as his own. whom the Savior governs his church through divine revelation to his chosen servents in these last days. Jesus has provided a way for the gospel to be preached in all the world through the sacrifice of the membership because of the testimony of his saints for His sacrifice on the cross.

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