Multiplication Center

U.S. Church Membership Drops 1%, Following Pattern

February 28, 2011


Growing denominations continue to grow in membership and declining ones continue to decline, according to the just-released summary in the 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches  produced by the National Council of Churches. “The direction of membership — growth or decline — remains very stable,” says Yearbook editor Eileen Lindner. “That is, churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years continue to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in recent years continue to decline.” The only new developments in membership trends are small, Lindner points out: “The rates of both growth and decline have generally slowed in comparison to recent years.”

Those ongoing trends are important, however. The biggest denomination, Roman Catholics, increased slightly, and the second-biggest denomination, Southern Baptists, decreased slightly. All reporting Pentecostal/charismatic denominations grew. A few church groups regarded as cults by some continue to increase in size, such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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