A majority of churches have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday and have declined or nearly flatlined in membership growth, according to a new study from Exponential by LifeWay Research.
The study, which was conducted to help churches better understand growth in the pews, showed that most Protestant churches are not doing well attracting new Christian converts, reporting an average of less than one each month.
“The primary purpose of this study was to obtain a set of objective measures on churches’ reproduction and multiplication behaviors today as well as to understand their core context of growth,” Todd Wilson, chief executive officer of Exponential, said in a release from LifeWay research. “By combining these measures, we can help churches think about multiplication.”
The study found that 6 in 10 Protestant churches had plateaued or declined in attendance in the past 12 months and more than half saw fewer than 10 people become new Christians.
“Growth is not absent from American churches but rapid growth through conversions is uncommon,” Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, said in the release.
About 8 percent of the 1,000 Protestant pastors polled in the study had no new converts in the last 12 months.
Commenting on the study in a blog post this week, Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, said the study provides a very realistic picture of what is happening in American churches today.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair