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Not Great News on the Church Membership Front

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After years of steady growth, membership in the Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist  Convention have declined 0.59% and 0.24% respectively, according to the 2009 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches. Although the percentages are small compared to the total membership, they have joined virtually every mainline denomination in reporting a membership decline.

Yearbook editor Eileen W. Lindner notes that many churches are feeling the impact of the lifestyles of younger generations of church-goers who attend and support local congregations but resist joining. Other denominations with membership losses include the

  • United Church of Christ (-6.1%)
  • African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (-3.01%)
  • Presbyterian Church (USA) (-2.79%)
  • Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (-1.44%)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (-1.35%)
  • American Baptist Churches USA (-0.94%).

Only 4 of the 25 largest U.S. churches are growing:

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (+2.12%)
  • Church of God of Cleveland, TN (+2.04%)
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (+1.63%)
  • Assemblies of God (+0.96%).

(Christian Post 2/25/09, via Foster Religious Market Update)

Church Growth, Statistics

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