Church Membership Down 'Sharply' Over Past 2 Decades

(Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash)

Half of Americans are church members, which may seem encouraging at the outset, but this figure is down from 70% in 1999.

What are the reasons, and will the trend continue? asks the American Pastors Network (APN, AmericanPastorsNetwork.net).

The findings are the result of a new Gallup poll, which attributes the decline to an overall decrease in church attendance as well as an increase in the percentage of people who claim no religion at all, also known as "nones."

"There was once a time when most families would hardly question being at their home church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights, too," said APN President and national radio and television host Sam Rohrer. "But today, worship, Bible study and Christian community are being pushed out of our lives. In reality, it's God Himself who has been replaced with 'other gods and other worship,' and the effects on the culture are evident! As secularism abounds, families are split and hurting, and individuals are confused, with even some pastors giving up and refusing to preach the whole counsel of God and the true gospel at a time when truth is needed more than ever."

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The Gallup poll also found that since the turn of the century, the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, from 8% to 19%.

"The decline in church membership mostly reflects the fact that fewer Americans than in the past now have any religious affiliation," according to Gallup. "However, even those who do identify with a particular religion are less likely to belong to a church or other place of worship than in the past.

The Christian Post reported last month that the "nones" group is now as large as evangelicals in the U.S., with 23.1% of those surveyed identified as having "no religion," while those who are evangelical, and of any race, represented about 22.8%. The data was gathered through the 2018 General Social Survey, a biennial project run by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

"What can be done about this devastating trend?" Rohrer asked. "And how much further will our culture fall without those who are grounded in their faith and who are engaged members of the local church? It's not about church marketing, bigger buildings, louder music or attractive programs to entice people to choose church attendance or membership. It's a heart matter and a matter of truth. Without debate, pastors and church leaders must lead the way in reaching out to their communities and strongly imploring that a life without Christ is no life at all, neither here on Earth nor for eternity."

Rohrer co-hosts the daily, live, one-hour "Stand in the Gap Today" radio program, which discusses cultural issues and headlines from a biblical and constitutional perspective. Stand in the Gap TV, which considers transcending cultural issues, seemingly difficult to navigate, from a biblical worldview perspective, airs on several national and regional networks.

View the media page for APN here, which also details information about "Stand in the Gap." For more information on APN, visit AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN's Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. To form a state chapter of APN, contact amy@americanpastors.net.

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