From 5 Million to 4 Million

From 2001 to 2011, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lost just over 1 million members.  More specifically: 2001 Membership: 5,099,877 2011 Membership: 4,059,785 Membership Loss: 1,040,092 or 20.39% So What? The decline of the mainline is a popular topic, yet few are familiar with the dramatic nature of the numeric decline in membership and denominational funding.  While the numbers presented here reflect the change in the ELCA, similar decline is happening across the Read More …

Learning from Gen Y: Thoughts of a New Reformation

Bradley N. Hill, a minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, recently wrote an article for the Christian Century suggesting that the way most churches operate (an attractional model) will never effectively engage Generation Y (those he characterizes as being born between 1976 and 2000) for many reasons including: . . . advertisement is just part of the background white noise of our culture. No impersonal website or advertisement, no program or event flyer, poster or radio spot will entice Read More …

Reality Check: A Typical Mainline Church in 2010

The Research Services Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) just released the 2010 Survey of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Congregations, which was part of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) 2010 study of 10,000 congregations from 100 Christian denominations and other faith groups in the United States.  The data was provided by leaders of 706 PCUSA congregations.  Among the statistics worth noting: The median worship attendance for all Sunday morning services is 70 people Congregations Read More …

Catholics to Recognize Protestant Baptisms

After working for the last six years on a means to provide mutual recognition of baptism with several Reformed Protestant denominations, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in favor of the measure at their annual Fall General Assembly.  While similar agreements have been reached in other countries, this is the first of its kind in the United States. According to Religion News Service, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the ecumenical and interfaith committee Read More …

The Future of Mainline Denominations

The Future of Mainline Protestantism As a group, mainline Protestants have experienced ongoing decline in membership for multiple decades.  In recent years some have replaced "mainline" with terms like "old line" or "sidelined."   Looking forward, almost everyone agrees that unless something changes significantly the decline will continue.  While some writers have focused on the decline including the likely causes and others are calling for the end of denominationalism in favor of a Read More …