Mainline Protestantism = Old

Until around the year 2000 I always thought of the group of churches to which I have belonged as Mainline or Mainline Protestant.  Over the last several years I have heard a variety of terms used that convey the considerable decline in membership and cultural capital. Data from the Pew Religious Landscape Study shows just how old the Mainline/Sidelined/Oldline Protestant traditions have become.   Mainline Denomination Median  Age Percent of Members Age Read More …

Millennials are #1 Overall & Mainliners #1 Growing Edge

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sometime this year Millennials will overtake Boomers as the largest generation in America.  The Millennials are projected not only to remain the largest group for the next several decades, but also to widen the gap between their group and that of the next largest generational cohort  (Boomers ranking second through 2028 then being overtaken by Xers). So What? Shortly after the Pew Research Center released the report on their latest U.S. Religious Read More …

From Mainline to Sideline to Oldline

I grew up in a Mainline Protestant congregation.  The congregation I was raised in belonged to one of the seven sisters of Mainline American Protestantism: the Congregational Church (now a part of the United Church of Christ), the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Convention, and the Disciples of Christ. While my childhood congregation has remained a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Read More …

Shifts in Religious Affiliation (1972-2012)

The changing role of religion in American culture is a popular topic of conversation among religious leaders.  Those leaders situated within Mainline Protestantism (a tradition I claim as my own) are talking more openly than ever before about decline.  Even the names used to describe the tradition increasingly recognize that the decline is both about diminishing numbers of adherents (Oldline) and a more marginalized role (Sideline).  While I am encouraged by increased attention given to the Read More …

The Decade of Christian Decline

2000-2010 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 Read More …

Worship Practices (in the USA)

"FACTS on Worship: 2010," the latest Faith Communities Today (FACT) report, provides insight into the current worship practices in churches by means of an aggregated data set that includes responses from over 11,000 congregations affiliated with over 120 denominations. Worship is changing.  The latest research shows increasing diversity in several areas, including: Time: Most services are held on Sunday morning (74%), but other weekend options are significant:  Sunday evening (16%), Read More …