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State of Churches in America

The church in America is in decline. According to research by Gallup, church attendance in the U.S. has fallen from 62 percent in 1994 to 53 percent in 2012, a 9% loss. One example is the Churches of Christ, which have declined by 9.8% since 1990.


Since 1990, the population in the U.S. has grown from 250 million to 320 million, an increase of 22%. If the U.S. population continues to grow at this rate and church attendance continues to decline at its current rate over the next 25 years, it will take approximately 1.6 million new Christians per year just to keep pace with the population growth.

Research by Olson (2005) indicates that new churches grow faster than old ones. In fact, once the average church reaches 40 years of age, it actually begins decreasing.


According to The Christian Post, 4000 new churches are planted each year. However, if we figure that they have an average attendance of 200 people (perhaps an unrealistic assumption), we are still 4000 churches shy of staying even with current trends.

What does this mean? Either we need better methods of evangelism or we need more churches. Perhaps the old adage, “It is easier to have a baby than raise the dead” is an apt lesson in this case. My post, Boom or Bust? State of the Church in America, discusses additional reasons to plant churches.

We need more churches!

Related Posts:
Why Plant Churches?
Boom or Bust? State of the Church in America

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. America is in decline for many no longer believe in her exceptionalism. The churches of Christ are in decline for many no longer believe in her exceptionalism. As goes the church of Christ so goes the nation. “To whom much is given, much is required.”

    March 5, 2015
  2. From my experience there are too many wolves and not enough sheep in churches.

    I find it more rewarding sitting down and talking with an atheist about Jesus than attending church with the ones who are always finding reasons to be judgmental and condemning.

    I do have Christian brothers and sisters I enjoy talking about our walk with Christ much more fulfilling and challenging than attending a church full of feel good Christianity as well.

    I do not intend upon being a Negative Nellie but these are the experiences of most of the non church going Christians I have talked with.

    March 5, 2015
    • I tend to agree that talking with an atheist is more rewarding than “feel good” Christianity. Thanks.

      March 16, 2015

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