Saturday, December 19, 2009

LCMS and PCA in Decline

While Martin Marty can't help but gloat at little (despite saying that he wasn't), the facts do speak for themselves. To quote from his column here:

"The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, fourteenth in size and run by what moderates saw as a quasi-fundamentalist take-over party in the 1970s, always advertised that it was blessed because it was conservative and firm. Last year it lost 45,735 members, or 1.44 percent of the formerly faithful. More disturbing to conscientious chroniclers and planners was the word that average attendance at worship dropped from 165 to 155 in one year! Similarly, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) 'lost numbers for the last year for the first time in its 37-year history,' despite its reliance on strategies chosen when its congregations seceded from a parent body."

Southern Baptists declined as well, and Roman Catholic membership would have declined as well, but for the significant influx of mainly Hispanic immigrants.

I'm unsure what to make of it all. Whether LCMS numbers decline or not year to year, my impression is that there is a lot of gray hair in LCMS churches relative to non-gray hair. (Not so much in my local church, but in many chuches I've visited.) That would suggest a precipitant decline in active members over, say, the next ten or twenty years.


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