Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Are mainline churches dead?

Or have they just changed their stripes?

First, read this short interview in US News & World Reports:

(want more? http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week845/interview1.html
http://www.alban.org/ShowArticle.asp?ID=136 - The most interesting part is the section entitled "Questionable Statistics")


Emily said...

Thanks for this. I heard Phyllis Tickle speak on much this same topic last week at our ECW conference. Much food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I'm a long time 'progressive' church goer, but I can't say I find these articles all that encouraging or convincing. According to the 2004 parochial report, my own denomination (ECUSA) lost over 36,000 members and over 27,000 in average Sunday attendance. Similar numbers are projected for 2005. That's more than a statistical dribble for a denomination of about 2 million. While I'm excited to hear about progressive 'intentional' congregations that are growing and young (I attend one such in SF), it's really not something to get too happy about. From my experience in such congregations, most of the growth comes from mainline folks flocking together in desperate search of a church with life, on the one hand, and refugees from evangelicalism on the other. In other words, these intentional churches are still not creating new members, but simply providing a place that catches those from elsewhere. I can count the number of people I know who actually became Christian through liberal Christianity on one hand. I think these articles encourage us to celebrate in the midst of a disaster. Seriously, it's like global warming. The writing's on the wall and we need to face up to it.