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When Experts Attack

The Church Growth Movement Versus Church Growth

For over 30 years, the churches of America have been declining; their numbers, plummeting.  Each year, a new set of numbers emerges from the various denominational headquarters, telling the tale.  The liberal Protestant Mainlines are in the worst shape, as the figures for 2006 to 2007 indicate.  According to the National Council of Churches, the Episcopal Church, U.S.A., down to 2,247,819, reported a decrease of 1.59 percent over the last year.  The Presbyterian Church (USA), down to 3,098,842 members, reported a decrease of 2.84 percent.  The United Methodist Church, down to 8,075,010 members, reported a decrease of 1.36 percent.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, down to 4,850,776, reported a decrease of 1.62 percent.  The American Baptist Churches in the USA, down to 1,396,700, reported a decrease of 1.97 percent.  And the extremely liberal United Church of Christ, down to 1,224,297, reported a decrease of 3.28 percent.

Their conservative counterparts are not faring much better.  The largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, at 16,270,315 members, reported a slight increase of 0.02 percent.  The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, down to 2,440,864, reported a decrease of 0.93 percent.  Only the Catholic Church, at 69,135,254 members nationwide, managed to buck the trend, reporting an increase of 1.94 percent.

Year after year,...

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