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