Every once in awhile I encounter some stats that remind me how critical it is for the church in America to rethink things. Have a look:
“Christianity has been largely abandoned in Britain and the rest of Europe…Christianity has partly faded in Canada, where only 20% of adults say that they attend church regularly, and only about 10% actually do. In about the year 1990, Christianity started to lose market share in the U.S. The percentage of American adults who identify themselves as Christians is dropping by about 1 percentage point per year. The percentage who say that they attend church on most weeks is 40%. [Sociological research in the U.S. and Canada shows that self-reporting of church attendance in polls overestimates actual weekly attendance by around 80%, indicating 20-30% of the population of the U.S. actually attends church as of 2004.]” Penny Long Marler and C. Kirk Hadaway, “Testing the Attendance Gap in a Conservative Church,” Sociology of Religion Journal (Summer 1999): www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0SOR/is_2_60/ai_55208518/pg_1 (accessed December 2, 2007).
Here’s another report:
“Despite what we print in our own press releases, the numbers don’t look good. According to 2003 actual attendance counts, adult church-going is at 18 percent nationally and dropping. Evangelical attendance (again, actual seat-numbers, not telephone responses) accounts for 9% of the population, down from 9.2% in 1990. Mainline attendance accounts for 3.4% of the national population, down from 3.9% the previous decade. And Catholics are down a full percentage point in the same ten-year period: 6.2% from 7.2% in 1990. Of the 3,098 counties in the United States, 2,303 declined in church attendance.” Sally Morganthaler, “Windows in Caves and Other Things We Do with Perfectly Good Prisms,” Fuller Theological Seminary Theology News and Notes (Spring 2005). Can be downloaded at http://www.easumbandy.com/resources/index.php?action=details&record=1386