Wednesday, February 25

New American church stats


Last week Gary Walter, the president of the Evangelical Covenant Church, told us at the gathering of Asian missionaries that the Covenant grew by about 6% last year. We're a small denomination (about 800 churches -- maybe a constituency of 350,000 people) so we don't show up on too many radars. But maybe being small and low-flying is a good thing in such matters.

The figures for other groups are out and this is what the National Council of Churches' 2009 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches is reporting -- the top 25 North American religious groups (in terms of size -- but not necessarily vitality or impact). Some of these bodies are listed as "no changed reported" year after year -- which suggests that they are not being totally honest about their statistics or they have no clue as to what is happening. Either way I am guessing that they are in decline (and denial), too. These figures also do not take into account the phenomenal growth of non-denominational churches.
  • The Roman Catholic Church, 67,117,06 members, down 0.59 percent. (Ranked 1)
  • The Southern Baptist Convention, 16,266,920 members, down 0.24 percent. (Ranked 2)
  • The United Methodist Church, 7,931,733 members, down 0.80 percent. (Ranked 3)
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,873,408 members, up 1.63 percent. (Ranked 4)
  • The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no change reported. (Ranked 5)
  • National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc., 5,000,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 6)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,709,956 members, down 1.35 percent. (Ranked 7)
  • National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3,500,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 8)
  • Presbyterian Church (USA), 2,941,412 members, down 2.79 percent (Ranked 9)
  • Assemblies of God, 2,863,265 members, up 0.96 percent. (Ranked 10)
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2,500,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 11)
  • National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, 2,500,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 11)
  • Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., 2,500,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 11)
  • The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS), 2,383,084 members, down 1.44 percent. (Ranked 14)
  • The Episcopal Church, 2,116,749 members, down 1.76 percent. (Ranked 15)
  • Churches of Christ, 1,639,495 members, no change reported. (Ranked 16)
  • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 1,500,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 17)
  • Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., 1,500,000 members, no change reported. (Ranked 17)
  • The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 1,400,000 members, down 3.01 percent. (Ranked 19)
  • American Baptist Churches in the USA, 1,358,351, down 0.94 percent. (Ranked 20)
  • Baptist Bible Fellowship International, 1,200,000, no change reported. (Ranked 21)
  • United Church of Christ, 1,145,281 members, down 6.01 percent. (Ranked 22)
  • Jehovah's Witnesses, 1,092,169 members, up 2.12 percent. (Ranked 23)
  • Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 1,071,616 members, no change reported. (Ranked 24)
  • Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.), 1,053,642 members, up 2.04 percent. (Ranked 25)

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