Friday, February 09, 2007

US population explodes, church membership flat

Well, I've been in bed most of this week, sick with fevers, sweats, and bad headaches. But there are people with cancer out there, so it could be worse.
Those of you who are in my Ancient-Future Church class saw the numbers I compiled on church membership in the US over the last 26 years. Apparently, others have noticed the trend, as the Christian Chronicle just published these numbers in their last issue.
If you look at the chart from, you can see that since 1980 the US population has grown by 32%. During that same time period, known membership in churches of Christ has remained basically flat, with growth of 1.6%. So in terms of the percentage of the US population, churches of Christ have shrunk dramatically in the last 27 years.

Obviously, we are not setting the world on fire. Not only are we not experiencing the explosive growth found in the book of Acts, but we are shrinking. Does this not show that we must reallocate our energy, time, and resources to mission and make this our primary focus, as it should be anyway? What we are doing is not working. We must face this square in the face.
What do you guys make of these numbers? What is the solution to this decline?