You never know about the latest studies and statistics, but according to one researcher's work, reported in Outreach Magazine online ("Special Report: The American Church in Crisis"), things are not going well for the American church. Here are seven of the "startling facts":
- Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church--half of what the pollsters report.
- American church attendance is steadily declining.
- Only one state is out-pacing its population growth.
- Mid-sized churches are shrinking; the smallest and largest churches are growing.
- Established churches--40 to 190 years old--are, on average, declining.
- The increase in churches is only 1/4 of what's needed to keep up with population growth.
- In 2050, the percentage of the U.S. population attending church will be almost half of what it was in 1990.
One of the solutions offered is more church planting. Bob Roberts, in a book our Board, Elders and leadership staff just read, talks about shifting our thinking from building a bigger church to churching the area. Any thoughts?