Why are Churches Failing Across the Country?

d4db8cc95f3b8f9e908edd8f0197de1bFrom Catholics to Protestants, Methodists to Non-Denominational; there has most certainly been a decline in church congregations in our country.

This could be argued by some of the more “Mega Churches”, but we will touch on that later. “In the 1980s, membership in the church had dropped almost 10%; then, in the 1990s, it worsened by another 12% drop-some denominations reporting a 40% drop in their membership.” According to Church Leadership.ORG; and now 17 years into the new century, those numbers are dropping even more.

Church Leadership.ORG goes on to give these statistics:

-Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors compared to just over 1000 new church starts!

-Every year, 2.7 million church members fall into inactivity.

-From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations in the USA declined by almost 5 million members (9.5 percent), while the US population increased by 24 million (11 percent).

-The United States now ranks third (3rd) following China and India in the number of people who are not professing Christians; in other words, the U.S. is becoming an ever increasing “un-reached people group.” (Read More)

Pew Forum.ORG has these statistics to the decline of Church goers:

The 2014 Religious Landscape Study conducted by the Pew Research Forum, is a follow-up to an equally extensive survey on religion in America, conducted in 2007. An initial report on the findings from the 2014 study, released in May 2015, described the changing size and demographic characteristics of the nation’s major religious groups. This report focuses on Americans’ religious beliefs and practices and assesses how they have changed in recent years.

The falloff in traditional religious beliefs and practices coincides with changes in the religious composition of the U.S. public. A growing share of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, including some who self-identify as atheists or agnostics as well as many who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” Altogether, the religiously unaffiliated (also called the “nones”) now account for 23% of the adult population, up from 16% in 2007. (Read More)

To show you further proof of the decline in church congregations in the country, you need only look around you during service on Sunday morning. See for yourself, how churches are declining. If you’re unable to do this because you’re not in church, you have only proved my point.

So why are churches failing? I can point to statistics all day, but I think the answer is more simple and ugly than that. I believe churches are failing for several reasons.

  1. Christians themselves: Millenials and younger generations are tired of being judged. On multiple occasions, I have walked into many churches of various denominations and immediately been ridiculed for appearance, personality and life style choice. I am a six-foot-tall, 250 pound, heavily tattooed Veteran. I scare a lot of people just on first appearance. But this type of judgement happens to way more than just me.
  2. Church is for the hurting, and the lost: Not just for the pious. A church is like a hospital. Sick people go to the hospital to get healthy. In much the same way, the lost and hurting come to church to seek guidance and salvation. To cast out those who would be saved is folly. Again, I point to number one in this list.
  3. Hypocrisy: This is what I like to call “Saturday Sinners, Sunday Worshipers”. The laymen or non-Christian sees this behavior and is instantly filled with doubt and disgust. Lip service prayers offered on Sunday morning, and then the rest of the week is filled with a secular lifestyle.
  4. Mega Churches: More modern and progressive churches, with all the newest technology, light shows, rock band worship team, football stadium congregations and televangelist pastors living in multi-million dollar homes; really turns the stomach of a lot of people. “How is living in a palace, serving God?” they ask. I tend to agree with them. While I do like more modern worship songs compared to the old hymnals, I don’t think a “Pink Floyd” style service helps the case of Christianity in this country.
  5. Media: Christians have been pretty much become a taboo for the media to report on in any fashion, and when they do, it is to report on fanatical zealots like West Boro Baptist; or about some disgusting priest molesting a child. See number 2.
  6. Finally, the lack of God: We as Christians have allowed God to be taken out of our schools, courts, state buildings and even our own homes. I grew up with the fear of God. That any wrong doing I committed was a sin in Gods eyes. That fear is largely absent in the youth of today, and it is because it was absent in their parents twenty years ago.

The United States needs to get back to God, stop judging others (the Bible tells us this much) and start leading a life of those that would walk with Christ. {reach love and forgiveness. Not Sin, go to church out of habit or appearance, stop giving into worldly desires and stop misusing the power of the pulpit for profit. Maybe then, we can see some increase in church attendance.