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Interesting church facts


Here are some interesting facts about the church from the January 2015 issue of ChurchPulse, from the ECFA.

  • Church Racial Mix Changing. According to the most recent (2012) National Congregations Study, 80% of American congregants attend services at a place where a single racial or ethnic group comprises at least 80% of the congregation. 20% worship where no single racial or ethnic group predominates. This is up from 15% in ‛98 and 17% in ‛06–‛07. In addition, the share of white Americans who attend services with no one of another other race or ethnicity is dropping. In ‛98, 20% of U.S. congregants were part of entirely white congregations vs. 11% in ‛12. A similar dynamic is at work among Hispanic worshipers. (Pew Research Fact Tank 12/8/14)
  • The Average Church attracts fewer than 90 adults on a typical weekend. 60% of Protestant churches have 100 or fewer adults on a typical weekend. Just 2% of churches attract more than 1,000 adults on a typical weekend. (Barna Research)
  • Church Planting. Churches of 200 or less are 4 times more likely to plant a daughter church than churches of 1,000 or more. The smaller the size of the church, the more fertile they are in planting churches. (LifeWay Research)
  • Keeping the Faith. 56% of Millennials are keeping the faith of their childhood while 20% are switching to another denomination, 18% are leaving their faith and 4% are coming to faith. (Facts & Trends Summer 2014)
  • Fewer Married Millennials. While Millennials (21%) are half as likely to be currently married as their parents at the same age, Pew reports generally the “youngest generation has the strongest desire to marry” which is “a reflection of their stage in the life cycle.” However, Millennials are 5% less likely than those of older generations to say “successful marriage is one of their most important life goals.” (Focus on the Family Findings 6/2012)
  • Perceptions vs. Realities. In the U.S., the Center for Media Research says we get a lot of things very wrong. Aging Population: We overestimate the U.S. population to be much older than it actually is … The average estimate is 35.9% of the population is 65+ when it is in fact only 14%. Christians: Americans think 55.7% of the country identifies themselves as Christian vs. the actual figure of 78%. Muslims: We hugely overestimate the proportion of Muslims in the U.S. … thinking 15% are Muslims when the actual figure is 1%. (Center for Media Research Brief 11/22/14)
  • More Americans Foregoing Marriage. New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the number of Americans who have always been single and will never marry is at a historic high. About 20% of Americans older than 25 had always been single in ‛13, up from 9% in ‛60. About half of all never-marrieds would like to marry eventually; the younger people were, the more likely they were to say this. “Marriage hasn’t fallen out of favor,” says Kim Parker, Director of Social Trends Research, “but financial constraints and imbalances in the marriage market may be holding people back from taking the plunge.” (Pew Research Center 9/24/14)
  • Faith Sharing Online. In an average week, 1 in 5 Americans share their religious faith online, about the same percentage that tune in to religious talk radio, watch religious TV programs or listen to Christian rock music. And 46% of U.S. adults see someone else share their religious faith online in a typical week. These are among the key findings from a Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel. (Pew Research 11/6/14)
  • 19% Bible Lovers/19% Bible Skeptics. Bible skepticism is tied with Bible engagement for the first time in Barna Group and American Bible Society polling. The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible—who believe the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice” —has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years. This is now equal to the number of people who are Bible engaged—who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God. Digging into the population segmentation of Bible skeptics, two-thirds are 48 or younger (28% Millennials, 36% Gen-Xers), and they are twice as likely to be male (68%) than female (32%). They are more likely to identify as Catholic than any other single denomination or affiliation (30%) and are the segment most likely not to have attended church (87%) or prayed (63%) during the previous week. They are also most likely not to have made a commitment to Jesus that is important in their life today (76%). (Year-in-Review: Barna’s Top 10 Findings from 2014, Barna.org.)