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.

DENOMINATIONS & Largest 25 Denominations/Communions from the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

Total church membership reported in the 2012 Yearbook is 145,691,446 members, down 1.15 percent over 2011.

1. The Catholic Church 68,202,492, [ranked 1 in 2011] , down 0.44 percent.
2. Southern Baptist Convention 16,136,044, [ranked 2 in 2011] , down 0.15 percent.
** Since the 2010 census of nondenominational/independent congregations, we now know that this grouping of churches, if taken together, would be the second largest Protestant group in the country with over 35,000 congregations and over 12,200,000 adherents.
3. The United Methodist Church 7,679,850, [ranked 3 in 2011] , down 1.22 percent.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6,157,238, [ranked 4 in 2011], up 1.62 percent.
5. The Church of God in Christ 5,499,875, [ranked 5 in 2011] , no update reported.
6. National Baptist Convention , U.S.A. , Inc. 5,197,512, [ranked 6 in 2011] , up 3.95 percent.
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 4,274,855, [ranked 7 in 2011] , down 5.90 percent.
8. National Baptist Convention of America , Inc. 3,500,000, [ranked 8 in 2011] , no update reported.
9. Assemblies of God 3,030,944, [ranked 9 in 2011] , up 3.99 percent.
10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2,675,873, [ranked 10 in 2011] , down 3.42 percent.
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church 2,500,000, [ranked 11 in 2011] , no update reported.
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America 2,500,000, [ranked 11 in 2011] , no update reported.
13. The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) 2,278,586, [ranked 13 in 2011] , down 1.45 percent.
14. The Episcopal Church 1,951,907, [ranked 14 in 2011] , down 2.71 percent.
15. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. 1,800,000, ranked 15 [ranked 17 in 2011] , up 20 percent.
16. Churches of Christ 1,639,495, [ranked 15 in 2011] , no update reported.
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 1,500,000 , [ranked 16 in 2011] , no update reported.
18. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church 1,400,000, [ranked 18 in 2011] , no update reported.
19. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. 1,308,054, [ranked 19 in 2011] , down 0.19 percent.
20. Jehovah’s Witnesses 1,184,249, [ranked 20 in 2011] , up 1.85 percent.
21. Church of God ( Cleveland , Tennessee ) 1,074,047, [ranked 22 in 2011] , down 0.21 percent.
22. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 1,071,616, [ranked 23 in 2011] , no update reported.
23. Seventh-day Adventist Church 1,060,386, [ranked 24 in 2011] , up 1.61 percent.
24. United Church of Christ 1,058,423, [ranked 21 in 2011], down 2.02 percent.
25. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. 1,010,000, [ranked 25 in 2011 ], no update reported.
Total membership in top 25 churches: 145,691,446, down 1.15 percent.

Membership figures reported in the 2012 Yearbook were collected by the churches in 2010 and reported to the Yearbook in 2011.

Nine of the 25 largest churches did not report updated figures: the Church of God in Christ; the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; the African Methodist Episcopal Church; the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America; Churches of Christ; the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; and Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.

The 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches reports on 228 national church bodies. The Yearbook also includes a directory of 235 U.S. local and regional ecumenical bodies with program and contact information and provides listings of theological seminaries and bible schools, religious periodicals and guides to religious research including church archive listings.

For more information, or to purchase a copy of the 2012 Yearbook, see www.yearbookofchurches.org.

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

DENOMINATIONS & A map of the most common Christian denominations by county

by Gwen Sharp, PhD, W & W Norton and Company Publishers, February 25, 2009.

Churches

The counties with a dot indicate that 50% or more of residents belong to the dominant denomination. Unsurprisingly, we see that the South is dominated by Baptists (which includes Southern Baptists). The relatively high prevalence of Lutherans in the upper Midwest is due to the large number of Scandinavian Lutherans who settled in that region in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Read more at … https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2009/02/25/religion-and-geography/

DIVERSITY & The most / least racially diverse U.S. religious groups #PewResearch

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “The 2014 Religious Landscape Study reveals that Pentecostals and charismatics are only slightly less ethnically siloed than most other evangelical denominations. In my new book with Mark DeYmaz we offer a proven plan to change this. Check out your denomination’s integration level with this chart from Pew Research.”

The most and least racially diverse U.S. religious groups

by MICHAEL LIPKA, Pew Research Fact Tank, 7/27/15.

The nation’s population is growing more racially and ethnically diverse – and so are many of its religious groups, both at the congregational level and among broader Christian traditions. But a new analysis of data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study also finds that these levels of diversity vary widely within U.S. religious groups.

We looked at 29 groups – including Protestant denominations, other religious groups and three subsets of people who are religiously unaffiliated – based on a methodology used in our 2014 Pew Research Center report on global religious diversity. This analysis includes five racial and ethnic groups: Hispanics, as well as non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and an umbrella category of other races and mixed-race Americans.

How Racially Diverse are U.S. Religious Groups?

If a religious group had exactly equal shares of each of the five racial and ethnic groups (20% each), it would get a 10.0 on the index; a religious group made up entirely of one racial group would get a 0.0. By comparison, U.S. adults overall rate at 6.6 on the scale. And indeed, the purpose of this scale is to compare groups to each other, not to point to any ideal standard of diversity…

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/

DONATIONS & Student Wrestles With Denominational Contribution

by Bob Whitesel, 6-7-15.

Many denominations require that a portion  of undesignated gifts be given to the denomination.  This has implications for a hypothetical “case study” I posted in this blog titled: DONATIONS & An Unexpected Windfall. A Case Study on Unexpected Donations .

However, other denominations allow moneys designated for Building Funds to be retained fully by the church.  This can lead to some unethical temptations.  Let me share what one student said about this, and my response.


Student Post:

I am actually not sure that in the (denominational name) we could get by with using (all) the monies as I speculated, because of the budget assessment.  I was told by our District Secretary if the money is not designated as a building fund income, we are supposed to pay budgets as general income.  Essentially, that would mean that 20% (the denominational cap for calculating budgets) of the money would be assessed the next church year as budget payments.  If I reported that we had received $500,000 in extra income, the District would allocate $100,000 in the following years’ budgets, which would include world missions, pensions and benefits for retired pastors, district operations, etc.  If I reported that we had received $500,000 as a donation for building, we would have the discretion to use it all for the building.  Any portion of that money that we put aside for other than building would be assessed budgets.  So, here is the bottom line.  I could choose to give the denomination $100,000 (20% of $500,000 counted as general income) if I don’t use the total for building purposes, or I can use $400,000 for building  and have $100,000 in additional income.  Budgets would be $20,000 (20% of $100,000 general income).

The $400,000 as building fund would essentially give us $80,000 unaccounted for so we could put some in savings and some for charitable contributions above the budget amount.  $500,000 as general income would give us $400,000 for whatever purposes we chose and $100,000 for the denomination to allocate for it’s works.

Personally, I would like to see my local church determine how the money is spent and that is going to be greatest facilitated if we apply the lion’s share of the money to a building project.

Now, I realize that other denominations operate differently and each case would have to be handled differently.  I do know that if we received a generous gift of $500,000, it would be difficult for the congregation to hand over $100,000 to the district to use at it’s discretion instead of working to accomplish a building that they have wanted to erect for a long time.
—-
Here is my response:

Hello;

Thanks for some soul searching.  You are right, many denominations have this same rule. And thus, since Miss Winnie gave it undesignated, ethically we should thus not designate it.  And, if all churches did this (instead of sometimes soliciting money for Building Funds that would have otherwise been undesignated) then the denomination would have more money and apportionments might be less.

Thanks for wrestling with this.
Dr. Whitesel

DENOMINATIONS & Mainline Protestants make up shrinking number of U.S. adults #PewResearch

by MICHAEL LIPKA, Pew Research, 5/18/15.

Most of the Founding Fathers of the United States – not to mention a majority of U.S. presidents – were members of Christian denominations that fall into the mainline Protestant tradition. But in recent years, the share of Americans who identify with mainline Protestantism has been shrinking significantly, a trend driven partly by generational change.

5 Million Fewer Mainline Protestant Adults Than in 2007Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study finds that 14.7% of U.S. adults are affiliated with the mainline Protestant tradition – a sharp decline from 18.1% when our last Religious Landscape Study was conducted in 2007. Mainline Protestants have declined at a faster rate than any other major Christian group, including Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and as a result also are shrinking as a share of all Protestants and Christians.

Indeed, despite overall U.S. population growth between 2007 and 2014, the total number of mainline Protestant adults has decreased by roughly 5 million during that time (from about 41 million in 2007 to 36 million in 2014).

Generational replacement appears to be playing a significant role. Older generations have larger shares of mainline Protestants, including 26% of members of the Greatest generation (those born before 1928) and 22% of members of the Silent generation (those born 1928-1945). Mainline Protestant adults in the U.S. have a median age of 52, higher than the group’s median age in 2007 (50) and older than any other major religious tradition.

While older generations die out, the young Americans rising into adulthood are significantly less likely to identify with mainline denominations. Among Millennial adults (born since 1981), 11% are mainline Protestants. By contrast, 16% of Millennials are Catholics, 21% are evangelical Protestants and 35% are religiously unaffiliated.

Read more at … http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/18/mainline-protestants-make-up-shrinking-number-of-u-s-adults/