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Is religious attendance up or down (increasing/decreasing) where you live?
Some churches appear to be growing, while others are closing and being sold. Finding students who want to train for religious service appears difficult for some faiths. How is the religious climate where you live?
HI Demas. I believe religious attendance is decreasing, likely across the States if not the world. Churches often get a bad rep based on some of their more extreme members, whose actions reflect poorly on the institution as a whole, which also decreases numbers.
Additionally, I think a lot of people, even believers, don't think they need church. For example, I'm Christian, but I feel there's a lot more than going to church that defines my faith. Many Christians who don't attend could still be better people than those who do.
Not to say that attending is bad, it's not, and I enjoy doing so when I can! However, as time goes on, seems like less people want to get up early on Sunday when they can relax and rest instead. Or, some simply prefer private times of prayer.
Overall, many of my peers say they believe in a higher power, but are either unsure of what it is, or try to live their faith in ways outside of church.
I have no idea for my area. With what little knowledge I have there does seem to be a trend of less places with larger congregations contrast a lot of smaller churches with average congregations. And, I know many who attend home fellowships that do not attend a formal church.
The changes include losing the youth within the main churches. France is a cautionary tale. Attendance there is largely by older women, and even their numbers are shrinking. We are each the first judge of Christ for ourselves, a Caiaphas.
Interesting question, Demas. The only thing I can actually back up comes from an article in todays newspaper about the Southern Baptist Convention. It said that they were concerned over the decreasing membership in convention Baptist churches and gave statistics. I live in the South, so the article interested me.
What I've noticed is that in my area of about 250,000 people, there are several mega-churches of fundamentalist denominations like Baptist and Pentecostal, and I don't know how their attendance is faring. I have noticed, however, that there are numerous little store-front churches that come and go. I wonder if these are formed by worshipers who are discontent with their larger churches. Most of them don't last more than six months, but a couple of them like the New Life Church and a Baptist sect I wasn't familiar with are growing rapidly. Where do these other members go, back to their larger churches or stop attending altogether? I haven't noticed any changes to the more liberal religions like Episcopal, Methodist or Presbyterian. If they are dwindling locally, they haven't made their numbers public.
Check out the closing verses of John Chapter Six in which many of the larger body of disciples went away and walked no more with Christ. He already knew who they would be, and knew the heart of Judas Iscariot His betrayer.
Some of these little store-front churches may fail because they don't have enough money to stay afloat. If they left the megas because of disgust with big money, those attendees may have money issues themselves, but not with God.
Traditional is declining. In my experience going back at least a decade churches really suffered over the LGBQTA issues. It appeared that the congregations were tolerant to a degree with members of that acronym. But then the National stuff went on to allow Gay and Lesbian ministers. Too much for the over aged group and many folks with families. Episcopal suffered the most with about half going another way.
Everybody sins and everybody has a continuing sin of some sort. Interpreting the bible so as to exclude from the body of Christ those who sin in a few areas as opposed to others was the epitome of hypocrisy.
So now we have mega churches which rarely focus on going to hell. And that is a whole lot more attractive.
One only has to go around and attend services in many churches. I am up to 35 in my area. The church that was built to seat 200 seats only 30.
I think the biggest hit in attendance has been the decline via 3rd generation of young parents not returning to church after the traditional leaving in late teens. The tradition is fading. But we do see some change in that for an increase due to the "Joel Osteen", "good news and How To" approach.
So I think it is leveling off at about half of the attendance that we had, mid 80's.
I am reminded of Christ's question to His disciples: "Will ye also go away?" and Peter's answer: "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the son of the living God."
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