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 …

Mainline = Vintage?

For as long as I have been in ministry, people have been talking about whether or not the historic term mainline should continue to be used.  While earlier conversations about reform tended to offer options of old-line or sidelined in addition to retaining the longstanding mainline moniker, recent conversations have pushed for more updated titles with relevance to the contemporary situation. Last month I participated in Cathy Lynn Grossman's poll, which invited people to vote for a new name Read More …

A New Mainline

Mainline Protestantism has transitioned from American's dominant form of Christianity to a mere 18% of the adult population.  Many forecast continued decline. Recognizing the issue with the name, Cathy Lynn Grossman is inviting you to take a poll to propose a new name for the mainline, which includes a "dozen church groups  . . . including United Methodists, Episcopalians, Evangelical Lutherans, Presbyterians (USA) and American Baptists)."  The options she offers are Old Line Liberal 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 …