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The Un-churching of America


The Pew Forum for Religion in America has recently released a new study citing that one in five adults in America is unaffiliated with any church. You can find the full and abridged versions of the study by clicking HERE. Even with the continued growth of the mega church movement in America, these numbers come as no surprise. The real questions concern why this is true.

The day after the research numbers were released by Pew Forum, a reporter from the Des Moines Register called me for comment. I was unavailable and did not have the opportunity to respond. But given the chance, I would have pointed to two factors that I believe contribute to this five year trend.

First, I would have pointed out the rapidly growing home church movement in our nation. Some families have opted out of organized religion in favor of having their own private worship experiences at home. Think of it as a home school version of church. Others are networking with other two to four other families and meeting in their own homes for worship. Free from the overhead of church facilities and paid clergy, they pool their resources to support ministries that focus on the marginalized and missions beyond our nation’s borders.

Second, I think many have tired of the consumer driven approach of the church planting movement. “Church your way” and “it’s all about you” seems to have run its course. The people attended in droves, were entertained, had their felt needs met, then moved on. When the consumer models had the need to develop a volunteer base or fund a budget to keep the plates spinning, it felt like “bait and switch” to the consumers who were promised a commitment free worship experience.

What factors do you think are contributing to this trend?

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