"All things are possible for one who believes." Mark 9:23 ESV
Although we were once known as a Christian nation less than 15 years ago, Americans have left their churches at an average rate of 1% a year for the past twenty years. At year's end for 2018, Gallop polling determined that the number of people saying that they attend a church had fallen below 50%* and is at the lowest level every recorded since the polling began in 1937.
The people least likely to attend church today are white-collar workers who identify politically as Democrats* and those who most likely to attend church today are African-Americans (65%). By region, the largest decline has been in the East, followed by the Midwest, then the South and finally with the West having the lowest decline..
To counter this trend will require re-thinking "church" by the further use of artificial intelligence, streaming presentations and educational services and muti-locations on the part of some churches looking to attract Millennials back into church. All churches will need to develop new income streams to remain sustainable, open and thriving, especially those with less than 200 members today.
Like the rest of the western hemisphere, the number of church-going Christians in America are contracting each year, but before we consider what "church worship" will look like in another ten years, let us first look back upon all the changes that the Church has been through, successfully dealt with and have emerged from.
The future church may look entirely different from today, just as we as a church look different from the one of just 50-years ago when the member numbers began decreasing. but there will always be a church. Have faith, all things are possible with faith.
For the average U.S. church of 1000 members, with average annual operating cost of $100K, an average of 10% of the members pay 50% of total costs. Newer and more sustainable revenue streams will need to be found to take the place of these older donors with time.
* GALLUP - U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades, by Jeffrey M. Jones, April 18, 2019 - Gallup used 2016 to 2018 data based on telephone interviews with a random sample of over 7,688 adults from all 50 states with error margin of 1%.
** "Church membership in America hits historic low, new Gallup report finds" by Samuel Smith, CP-US 4/21/19