TRENDS & 6 in 10 US churches are declining or plateaued per #LifeWayResearch

Read more from LifeWay Research here … https://factsandtrends.net/2019/03/15/are-american-churches-growing/

GROWTH BY TRANSFER & Donald McGavran’s Warning About the Most Popular Church Growth

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  Recent LifeWay and US Census Bureau studies indicate that “transfer growth” is the dominant growth mechanism in North American churches.

Donald McGavran, founder of the Church Growth Movement, warned, “By transfer growth is meant the increase of certain congregations at the expense of others… But transfer growth will never extend the church, for unavoidably many are lost along the way.”[i]

Most evangelicals have looked for a new church in their life. Evangelicals (67 percent) are most likely to have looked for a new church at some point in their lives. Catholics (41 percent) and the “nones”—the religiously unaffiliated—(29 percent) are least likely. (http://factsandtrends.net/2016/12/29/16-things-we-learned-about-evangelicals-in-2016/#.WGZBq4E8KaM)

[i] Donald A. McGavran, Understanding Church Growth (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 72.

CHURCH GROWTH & Liberal churches are dying. But conservative churches are thriving say researchers.

A Canadian study found that conservative churches are still growing, while less orthodox congregations dwindle away.

By David Haskell, The Washington Post, 1/4/17. David Millard Haskell is a professor of religion and culture at Wilfrid Laurier University.

…Over the last five years, my colleagues and I conducted a study of 22 mainline congregations in the province of Ontario. We compared those in the sample that were growing mainline congregations to those that were declining. After statistically analyzing the survey responses of over 2,200 congregants and the clergy members who serve them, we came to a counterintuitive discovery: Conservative Protestant theology, with its more literal view of the Bible, is a significant predictor of church growth while liberal theology leads to decline. The results were published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Review of Religious Research.

We also found that for all measures, growing church clergy members were most conservative theologically, followed by their congregants, who were themselves followed by the congregants of the declining churches and then the declining church clergy members. In other words, growing church clergy members are the most theologically conservative, while declining church clergy members are the least. Their congregations meet more in the middle.

Read more at … https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/04/liberal-churches-are-dying-but-conservative-churches-are-thriving/?utm_term=.cdffbf6ca291

DENOMINATIONS & What denominations are gaining members and what denominations are losing members?

A: Mainline Protestant denominations continued to decline, according to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Church of Christ, all reported decreases in membership in 2011. For several years now, the Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative evangelical denomination, also showed a decrease.  The Roman Catholic Church also reported a decrease of less than 1 percent.

The growing denominations in 2011 were the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assembles of God and several other Pentecostal groups; each reported a 2 percent growth.

Sociologists have also found that larger evangelical Protestant churches appear to be growing, while smaller churches posted smaller growth.  Based on data from the Faith Communities Today survey, evangelical churches with more than 1,000 people posted the largest gains over the past five years: 83 percent.
Want to know more? Go to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The Yearbook costs $55 and may be ordered at: www.yearbookofchurches.org

Check out the Faith Communities Today surveys of congregations, http://www.faithcommunitiestoday.org  You might also want to read How Strong is Denominational Identity?

OLDLINE PROTESTANT*

Number of Regularly Participating Adults

% of Congregations Growing by 5% Or More From 1995 to 2000

1 thru 49

30%

50 thru 99

41%

100 thru 149

52%

150 thru 349

50%

350 thru 999

70%

1000 or More

66%

EVANGELICAL PROTESTANT*

Number of Regularly Participating Adults

% of Congregations Growing by 5% Or More From 1995 to 2000

1 thru 49

37%

50 thru 99

50%

100 thru 149

60%

150 thru 349

66%

350 thru 999

74%

1000 or More

83%

* Does not include historic black denominations

denominational change

denominational membership trends

The Hartford Institute for Church Research, retrieved from http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html#sizecong, 11/9/16.

MEMBERSHIP & The Strict Church Theory: Why Strict Churches Grow Faster #LaurenceIannaccone #PennStateUniv

bpc_icon_theory.jpg Strict Church Theory

Definition:

Strict churches are stronger because they reduce free riding, or the ability of members to belong yet not contribute to the group. The theory predicts that strict churches will tend to retain members and foster ongoing commitment while lenient churches will tend to lose members and exhibit very low levels of commitment. This theory builds off of rational choice assumptions and is compatible with the religious economies perspective.

Citations:

Iannaccone, Laurence. 1994. “Why Strict Churches are Strong.” The American Journal of Sociology. 99(5): 1180-1211.

Kelley, Dean. (1972) 1986. Why Conservative Churches are Growing.Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.

by The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA),

Department of Sociology
The Pennsylvania State University
211 Oswald Tower
University Park, PA 16802-6207

Read more at … http://www.thearda.com/rrh/bestpracticescenter/theories/theory14.asp

More Theories

Learn about other theories of religion:
arrow.jpgChurch/Sect Cycle
arrow.jpgCivilization Theory
arrow.jpgCognitive Theories
arrow.jpgConversion Theory
arrow.jpgCyclical Theory
arrow.jpgDemographic Transition Theory
arrow.jpgFunctionalism
arrow.jpgModernization Theory
arrow.jpgRational Choice/Religious Economies
arrow.jpgSecularization
arrow.jpgSocial Network Theory
arrow.jpgSub-Cultural Identity Theory of Persistence and Strength

WESLEYAN CHURCH & 10 Years of Church Growth in 3 Graphs

Conversions, Baptisms, and Attendance from ’05-’15. Church Fitness is a Missional Priority for The Welseyan Church as seen in 3 charts. #madenew

Retrieved from https://www.wesleyan.org/stories-and-stats
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MULTIPLICATION & 7 Statistics That Predict Church Growth #HartfordInstitute

By Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 3/21/16.

Analysis of the American Congregations 2015 study finds seven statistics played a role in which churches experienced significant growth since 2010.

1. Growing location — The old real estate adage applies to churches. Growth is connected to “location, location, location.”

More than half (59 percent) of churches in a new suburb grew at least 2 percent in the past five years. Those in other locations were less likely to experience similar growth—only 44 percent grew at that rate.

2. Younger congregation — Churches whose membership was at least a third senior adults were less likely to grow than other churches.

Only 36 percent of churches heavily attended by senior citizens grew 2 percent or more in the last five years. Almost half (48 percent) of churches where seniors were less than one-third grew.

3. Innovative worship — Congregations who describe their worship service as “very innovative” are almost 10 percent more likely to grow than others.

Less than 44 percent of churches that say they have little to some innovation in worship grew, while more than 53 percent of churches with very innovative worship grew.

4. Lack of serious conflict — Fighting churches are not growing churches. Serious conflict stunts growth.

For churches that maintained relative calm—no serious conflict in the past five years—more than half grew. Only 29 percent of churches with serious conflict did the same.

5. Involved church members — Simply put, the more laity is involved in recruiting new people the more likely a church will grow.

How likely is it that a church grew? For those whose laity was …

  • Not at all involved: 35 percent
  • Involved a little or some: 45 percent
  • Involved quite a bit: 63 percent
  • Involvement a lot: 90 percent

6. Unique identity — If churches worked to discover and present to their community what makes them different from other area churches, they are more likely to grow.

Almost 58 percent of churches who distinguished themselves from other congregations grew, compared to 43 percent of churches who showed little to no difference.

7. Specialized program — Similarly, if churches establish a program as a congregational specialty, they are more likely to grow.

Close to 52 percent of churches that have at least one specialty grew, while less than 42 percent of congregations who claimed no specialty did the same.

These seven statistics from the American Congregations 2015 study give a picture of the churches bucking the trend of decline across U.S. churches.

Read more at … http://factsandtrends.net/2016/03/17/7-statistics-that-predict-church-growth/#.Vu_fmEX3aJI

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