By David Olsen

This is a must read for any Christian leader who wants to play a part in what God is doing in our world at this point in time. Olsen has given us a priceless book. It’s not doom and gloom. It clearly shows the way forward. The hope of the American church lies in planting churches.

1) Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church – half of what the pollsters report. There are approximately 330,000 churches in America; out of those churches approximately 17.7% (52 million) of Americans attend church on an average Sunday.

2) American church attendance is steadily declining.

  • Evangelical 9.2% 
  • Catholic 5.5% 
  • Mainline 3.1% 

3) Only one state is outpacing its population growth. Hawaii.

4) Mid-sized churches are shrinking; the smallest and largest churches are growing.

  • Churches under 50 and over 2,000 are growing 
  • Average attendance of Protestant church: 124 
  • 1,250 mega-churches in America/one emerges every three days 

5) Established churches, 40-190 years old – are, on average, declining. New church starts reach more people better, faster, cheaper than existing churches.

6) The increase in churches is only ¼ of what’s needed to keep up with population growth.

  • 3,000 churches close every year 
  • 3,800 new church starts survived 
  • Net annual gain: 800 new churches 
  • Net annual gain needed to keep up with population growth:10,000 new churches 

7) In 2050, the percentage of the U.S. population attending church will be almost half of what it was in 1990.

  • US Population in 1990: 248 million/20.4% church attendance
  • US Population in 2050: 520 million/11.7% church attendance