Hispanic Americans Leaving Catholicism

I often hear that the Catholic church in America will remain a power for years to come primarily because of Hispanics.  The assumption that Hispanic Americans are and will remain Catholic is one that is challenged by recent data from the Public Religion Research Institute. Current Affiliation A majority of Hispanics identify as Catholic (53%), one-quarter (25%) identify as Protestant—nearly evenly divided between evangelical Protestant (13%) and mainline Protestant (12%)—and 12% of Hispanics Read More …

Church Size & Growth Potential

The Fall 2013 edition of Facts and Trends contains a graphic (p.4) from Leadership Network showing that Protestant megachurches are four times more likely to be growing than are all Protestant churches (79% compared to 20%). So What? This statistic is one of many that highlight the reality that America's largest Protestant churches are among the healthiest of all churches when it comes to growth. Since most congregations are smaller in size, the 20% number must be something that Read More …

WHCB: Denominations

Christian Piatt includes denominations on his list of five things that are holding Christianity back.  He suggests that with so many denominations the "distinction from others like them are so minute that even the members within a given denomination can’t tell you what makes them unique."  Additionally, he argues that "with the trend toward personal and local autonomy taking hold in many Christian communities, there is increasingly less of a reason to keep such hierarchic corporate structures on Read More …

Who Volunteers Most?

While religious people tend to volunteer more than non-religious, a new study finds that one factor makes more difference than any other in determining who volunteers the most: type of high school attended.   Jonathan Hill and Kevin den Dulk's research, published last month in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, "shows that graduates of Protestant high schools out-volunteer peers from Catholic, secular, public, and home schools—all by significant margins." So What? While Read More …

1,000 Posts

In June 2009, some 44 months ago, I launched this blog.  My initial goals were quite modest: Learn more about blogging and social media by deepening my own engagement Share my thoughts on timely topics with an emphasis on raising questions rather than offering answers Encourage conversation about matters of faith that matter (within and beyond the congregation I was serving) After a few months of posting on an occasional basis, I began to be more intentional about when I posted. Read More …

Church Renewal – Join the Conversation

A week ago today Chaplain Mike, one of the principal bloggers on the popular Evangelical/post-Evangelical Internet Monk site, shared his summary of my thoughts on the future of the church as expressed in a series of blog posts written last year.  In addition to framing my series as a "perspective on the future of the American church from a younger leader in the mainline Protestant world," Chaplain Mike shared his take on how my thoughts relate to what others are saying now and having been saying Read More …

Shifts in Young Adult Protestantism

The graph at right illustrates the shifts in young adult (ages 23-35) Protestant affiliation between 1972 and 2010 as compiled by Lifeway Research using data from the General Social Survey.  Overall, during the "last 30 years, mainline protestantism is dying, black protestantism is steady, and evangelicalism is growing."  More specifically, among young adults: Mainline Protestantism declined dramatically: identification dropped from 24% to 6% while worship attendance was cut in half moving Read More …

Religious Taxes

A week ago today, Germany’s top administrative court sided with Roman Catholic bishops by upholding the longstanding practice of allowing the Catholic Church to deny full access to the church to German believers who refused to pay a special church tax.  Under the current system registered Catholics, Protestants and Jews pay a monthly tax to the government, and the government distributes those funds to the appropriate religious communities. With this system, the tax provides the most Read More …

Religious Benefits

The latest research by Gallup (more than 676,000 interviews conducted in 2010 & 2011) finds "very religious Americans of all major faiths have higher overall wellbeing than do their respective counterparts who are moderately religious or nonreligious." The following chart shows how specific groups fared by degree of religiosity: In the overall rankings when religions are considered as a whole (across the varying degrees of religiosity), Jews rank highest, Christians are in the Read More …