Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | October 8, 2013

Protestant Churches on the Decline: What Should Churches Do?

This article from the New York Times detailed how the number of Protestant Americans is declining. In short, the decline is happening in both mainline and evangelical groups, with a large number disaffiliating from religion altogether.  Another interesting aspect of the study was that the losses were among white Christians, but not black or other minority Christians.

Here are some thoughts:

  • With many leaving Christianity altogether, something is obviously driving them away. IMO, Christian groups at the parish/congregational level could do a better job of reaching out to those who leave.
  • Many people have left because of over involvement in some political issues.  A healthy balance between faith in action and religious groups essentially serving as unofficial PACs is necessary.
  • Many of those who leave their churches for whatever reason still believe in God and pray. We need to be careful not to lump anyone who leaves a church but still retains some Christian beliefs with atheists or agnostics, who are typically dealing with a different set of reasons for disavowing Christianity.
  • Some rarely, if ever, attend church services but take part in church-affiliated outreach ministries.  Congregations should consider their unique needs and the best ways to make sure they’re still ministered to.

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