Tomorrow’s message at The Donelson Fellowship is about the freedom we have to worship in the church of our choice week by week. In researching for the sermon, I found three different studies that are projecting church attendance in 2050, just 40 years from now:
- A study was conducted last year in England that predicted with within one generation the number of people in the UK going attending services in the Church of England will plunge by 90 percent. The study was conducted by a group called Christian Research, the statistical arm of the Bible Society. By 2050, according to this report, Anglican congregations in the UK will dwindle to less than 10 percent of what they are today. If there’s a church of 500 now, the prediction is that it will be 50 by 2050. If it’s a congregation of 50, it will be five.
- A similar study in the United States found similar results. The Religious News Service ran an article saying: “Booming megachurches might grab headlines, but the bigger story of American congregations is one of accelerating decline, according to David T. Olson, director of the American Church Research Project. Based on data collected from more than 200,000 churches, he projects that by 2050, only 10 percent of Americans will be in church on any given Sunday.”
- Just as I studied that article, I saw another one in a Southern Baptist publication that said: “Southern Baptist membership will fall nearly 50 percent by 2050…. Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, told editors of the Association of State Baptist Papers on Monday that while SBC membership has risen most years – by as much as 4 percent in 1951 – the rate of increase has been declining by 0.06 percent per year, and the membership change trend line has now passed into negative territory. ‘If the 50-year trend continues, projected membership of SBC churches would be 8.7 million in 2050, down from 16.2 million last year,’ said Stetzer. ‘Using U.S. Census projected population figures, SBC membership could fall from a peak of 6 percent of the American population in the late 1980s to 2 percent in 2050.’”
On this Fourth of July weekend, one of the best ways of preserving our freedom of worship is by doing it. Attend the church of your choice tomorrow.