Christian Fiscal CliffPosted by Phil Ferguson on February 10th, 2013 – 3 Comments – Posted in Uncategorized
The National Council of Churches reports that membership is down and giving is down. A new study written by Eillen W. Lindner hints at a bleak future for American Churches.
The US population grows just shy of 1% per year but church membership (a self reported number and likely over inflated) is down. The data shows a 1.15% decline in in membership. There is a growing concern that this is going to get worse – much worse.
“For the age cohorts known as Gen X’ers and Millennials (people now in their 30s and 20s respectively), formal membership may lie outside of their hopes and expectations for their church relationships…”
A nice way of pointing out that they are big trouble? We know from study after study that those under 30 are not going to church and those numbers get worse (from a churchie view) for those under 20. I have every expectation that that trend will continue and expand for the next couple of generations.
The members that stay behind are also giving less.
In terms of per capita giving, the $763 contributed per person is down $17 from the previous year, according to Lindner, a 2.2 percent drop.”
That is only 1.8% giving per capita (US Per capita data here) and down 2.2% from the previous year.
So, while the US population is growing the churches have a decrease in membership and an additional loss of revenue. A net income loss of somewhere around 3.35% (2.2% plus 1.15%). A trend they cannot sustain long term.
“This enormous loss of revenue dwarfs the $431 million decrease reported last year and provides clear evidence of the impact of the deepening crises in the reporting period…”
Many churches (especially new churches) work with the idea that they will have more members and more money in the future. If this revenue decrease trend continues we may see a wave of church closings.
Keep your eyes open, you may be able to buy your own church at a discount very soon!