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Skyline Pastor’s Meeting The State of the American Church. And the Church must be forever building, And always decaying, And always being restored. TS Eliot .

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skyline pastor s meeting the state of the american church

Skyline Pastor’s MeetingThe State of the American Church

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide2
And the Church must be forever building,

And always decaying,

And always being restored.

TS Eliot

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide3

According to George Barna, 47% of American adults attended church on a typical weekend in 2005. That would mean 140,000,000 Americans attend a church each week.

  • Is that Accurate?
  • Might people exaggerate about their church-attending behavior?
  • Do people overestimate their church attendance when polled?

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide8

1990 - 2006 Population Growth by Births, Immigration and Death

91,384,556

68,510,978

51,773,556

22,873,578

Births

Net Immigrants

Total New People

Net Gain in Population

-39,611,000

Deaths

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

three critical births
Three Critical Births
  • New BabiesA denomination with a low birthrate, little connection to immigrants and an inability to reach young families, children, teens and young adults will decline in size and influence.
  • New ChristiansWhen a church or a denomination experience little conversion birth, a river of life, vitality and enthusiasm ceases to flow. New life (conversion) is an important factor in a church experiencing its own new life (congregational vitality).
  • New ChurchesDenominations that do not plant churches have rapidly declining established churches; those who do discover that planting creates synergy and life that gets injected into the whole denomination, especially established churches.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

why are the growth rates of churches declining
Why are the growth rates of churches declining?

A Prophecy:

Christian ministry will get more challenging every year into the forseeable future.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide14

Percentage of the Population

Attending a Christian Church

On Any Given Weekend in 2007

10.5%

13.1%

NH

WA

9.8%

11.7%

16.6%

26.7%

ME

20.9%

MT

VT

ND

MN

12.5%

OR

12.2%

MA

10.0%

13.2%

20.4%

24.6%

ID

WI

NY

SD

12.6%

19.2%

16.6%

WY

MI

RI

18.5%

22.5%

14.6%

21.8%

PA

IA

CT

NE

18.5%

13.8%

9.4%

OH

NJ

20.3%

2.9%

18.4%

NV

14.1%

IN

14.1%

UT

IL

16.1%

CA

15.5%

17.3%

CO

WV

21.3%

19.8%

DE

VA

21.4%

KS

MO

KY

16.5%

21.0%

22.5%

MD

NC

TN

21.3%

12.8%

15.2%

25.1%

OK

AZ

22.2%

NM

AR

SC

21.9%

26.5%

GA

25.6%

AL

MS

17.4%

27.0%

TX

LA

13.1%

0.0% to 13.1%

AK

13.1% to 15.5%

13.6%

FL

15.5% to 19.2%

19.2% to 21.9%

14.0%

21.9% to 28.0%

HI

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide15

Growth or Decline in the

Percentage of the Population

Attending a Christian Church

from 2000 - 2007

-10.3%

-6.8%

NH

WA

-14.4%

-11.8%

-5.6%

-3.9%

ME

-9.7%

MT

VT

ND

MN

-13.1%

OR

-15.5%

MA

-9.0%

-14.2%

-17.5%

-10.8%

ID

WI

NY

SD

-11.5%

-6.6%

-17.6%

WY

MI

RI

-9.4%

-8.6%

-14.6%

-8.7%

PA

IA

CT

NE

-7.9%

-12.7%

-1.9%

OH

NJ

-6.3%

-6.6%

-9.5%

NV

-5.6%

IN

-7.5%

UT

IL

-7.2%

CA

-4.3%

-4.2%

CO

WV

-5.8%

-7.0%

DE

VA

KS

-3.6%

MO

KY

-6.8%

-7.4%

-5.6%

MD

NC

TN

-3.0%

-12.0%

-14.3%

OK

-0.8%

AZ

-4.4%

NM

AR

SC

-6.6%

-1.6%

GA

-3.8%

AL

MS

-8.5%

-8.2%

TX

LA

-11.0%

AK

-10.8%

FL

4.6%

HI

Decline

Growth

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide16

17.8%

12.7%

San Luis Obispo

Kern

14.4%

16.5%

San Bernardino

Santa Barbara

12.6%

Ventura

15.1%

Los Angeles

13.0%

17.9%

Riverside

Orange

14.9%

17.7%

Imperial

San Diego

12.6% to 16.0%

16.0% to 18.0%

Southern California

Counties

2007 Christian Church

Attendance

as a Percentage

of Population

Rose = Higher

Blue = Lower

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide17

-4.2%

-4.7%

San Luis Obispo

Kern

-9.4%

-3.3%

San Bernardino

Santa Barbara

-6.3%

Ventura

-5.8%

Los Angeles

-19.1%

-8.8%

Riverside

Orange

-2.5%

-11.5%

Imperial

San Diego

Decline

Growth

Southern California Counties

2000 - 2007 Growth or

Decline in Percentage

of the Population at

Worship in All Christian

Churches on a

Given Weekend

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide24
The 2 Next Charts

show the relative strength of the 8 major denominational groups in San Diego metro area.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

why are older churches declining each year 40 of established churches grow and 60 decline
Whyare older churches declining?(Each year, 40% of established churches grow and 60% decline.)

Which group will your church in this year?

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

why are midsized churches declining
Whyare midsized churches declining?

Intimacy . . . . . . . Ministry Excellence

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide33
And the Church must be forever building,

And always decaying,

And always being restored.

TS Eliot

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

the restoration of the house of god
The Restoration of the House of God

One critical ingredient remains if God’s work is to be complete. That ingredient is akin to the role of yeast in the baking of bread. That final element is restoration, the spiritual and supernatural work of God.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide35
The Restoration of the American Church

When the story of Jesus is told and lived out . . .

When the church creates pathways for fruitful ministry . . .

Then the stage is set for the movement of the Holy Spirit . . .

To breathe new life into his church.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide36

1. American culture is becoming more:

    • Post-Christian
    • Postmodern
    • Multiethnic
  • For many Christians, this causes a Fear Reaction. Instead of Fear, Rejoice – the world that is coming is very much like the Mediterranean World of the Early Church.
  • We need to model our church’s mission on the early church’s mission to the Gentiles.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide37

2. The Two Critical Words for Established Churches Are:

    • Healthy
    • Missional

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide38

3. More Well-Conceived New Churches have to be the #1 Mission Focus for every Denomination and Missional Church.

    • Parented
    • Godly and Gifted Leader
    • Strong Core Group
    • Deep Networks in the Community

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide39

4. Christendom and a Christianized Culture have Allowed the Church to Talk about Jesus in a Second-Hand Manner.

We Need to Restore the Priority of Jesus in our Communication, engaging people with the words and actions of Jesus.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. (1 John 1:1 & 2).

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide40

5. Much of the Evangelical Church has reduced the Message of Jesus to a shallow Gospel.

The Evangelical Church needs to recover the robust and revolutionary Message and Mission of Jesus.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide41

Teach us again the greatest story ever told.

In time, the Carpenter began to travel

In every village challenging the people

To leave behind their selfish ways,

Be washed in living water,

And let God be their King.

You plundered death,

And made its jailhouse shudder –

Strode into life

To meet your startled friends.

I have a dream,

That all the world will meet you,

And know you, Jesus, in your living power.

That someday soon all people will hear your story

And hear it in a way they understand.

from the Caedmon Liturgy, Celtic Daily Prayer

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide42

A Historic Prayer of the Church

Most powerful Holy Spirit,

come down upon us and subdue us.

From heaven,

where the ordinary is made glorious

and glory seems but ordinary,

bathe us with the brilliance of your light,

like dew.

from Celtic Daily Prayer

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

powerpoint presentations
PowerPoint Presentations…

A free copy of this PowerPoint is available at:

www.theamericanchurch.org/Skyline.zip

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

information on the information
Information on the Information
  • The spiritual health of churches is multifaceted, and is obviously much more complex than an attendance trend can portray. However, following the example of St. Luke in the Book of Acts, who used the number of people who showed up at various events as a sign documenting the health and growth of the early church, I would suggest that attendance is the single most helpful indicator of health, growth and decline.
  • Information has been compiled only for orthodox Christian groups – Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox. The Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Unitarian-Universalists and the International Churches of Christ have not been included. In addition, information about non-Christian groups has not been compiled.
  • African American denominations publish very little that is statistical – often not even a list of current churches. This study used data from the 1990 Glenmary study on Black Baptist estimates and AME Zion churches, the average African American worship attendance (from the Barna Research Group), and a statistical model based on the population of African Americans in each county in 1990 and 2000. This was combined with the known attendance at about 10,000 African Americans churches to come up with as accurate an estimate as possible for each county.
  • Independent church data is difficult to obtain. (There are actually many fewer totally independent churches than is assumed. Most are part of some voluntary association, which typically keeps some records.) Data from the 1990 & 2000 Glenmary study on larger Independent churches (limited to over 300 in attendance) was used along with a statistical model to estimate the attendance at smaller independent churches.
  • In Catholic churches, the definition of what constitutes membership varies with diocese and church, making numbers sometimes inconsistent from state to state and county to county. In addition to actual mass counts from 1/3rd of Catholic parishes, membership information has been merged with attendance patterns from similar dioceses based on the size of the diocese and the region in which it is located.
  • Orthodox Churches are included in Totals, but not included as a separate group because of smallness of size nationwide. Division into Evangelical and Mainline categories is based on the division by the Glenmary Study.
  • This study only looks at how many people attend a Christian church on any given Sunday. The term ‘regular attender’ can be designated to mean someone who attends a Christian church on a consistent basis. Using a simple definition for ‘regular attender’ (attends at least 3 out of every 8 Sundays), between 21% and 23% of Americans would fit this category. Adding ‘regular attenders’ of non-orthodox Christian churches and other religions to the totals would increase the percentage to 24% – 26%.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

slide45
This Presentation

is based on a nationwide study of American church attendance, as reported by churches and denominations. The database currently has average worship attendances for each of the last 15 years for over 200,000 individual churches.

It also uses supplementary information (actual membership numbers correlated with accurate membership to attendance ratios) to project the attendances of all other denominational and independent churches. All told, accurate information is provided for all 305,000 orthodox Christian churches.1

1 This presentation looks only at people attending orthodox Christian churches. Approximately 3 million people attend non-orthodox Christian churches, and perhaps 3 million attend a religious service of another religion. Those ‘houses of worship’ would add another 35,000 churches in the United States and increase the 2007 percentage to 19.0%.

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

for more information
For More Information . . .
  • Presentations such as this are available for the largest 90 Metropolitan Areas in the United States, for each State and for the Nation as a whole. Presentations can be downloaded immediately. A Combo Pack for each state is also available, which includes the National, State and any Metro PowerPoints from that state. For ordering information, please go to www.theamericanchurch.org

© 2009 by David T. Olson www.TheAmericanChurch.org

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