The State of the American Church

Dr Aubrey MalphursToday’s guest post comes to us from Dr. Aubrey Malphurs, Founder and Visionary Leader of the Malphurs Group and the Senior Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Malphurs offers deep insight on the decline of the American church and the urgent need for revitalization.

The State of the American Church concerns me. 80-85% of churches are plateaued or declining.

In the mid-1960’s church leaders began to notice a disturbing trend in the state of the American Church. Something previously unnoticed in America: many major denominations had ceased growing.

In 1988 Win Arn, church growth pioneer, shocked the American church world with the following statement.

“Today, of the approximately 350,000 churches in America, four out of five are either plateaued or declining. Many churches begin a plateau or slow decline about their fifteenth to eighteenth year. 80-85 [percent] are on the down-side of this cycle.”

After the shock wore off, Christian leaders began to examine more closely the state of the American Church. Arn’s statement proved to be disturbingly accurate!

Decrease in Weekly Attendance

Troubling signs appear at every juncture when it comes to the state of the American Church. Church researcher David T. Olson pulls information from 200,000 churches and found that “the conditions that produce growth are simply not present. If present trends continue, the church will fall farther behind population growth.” He demonstrates that the percentage of the population attending a Christian church each weekend will decline from 20.4% in 1990 to 14.7% in 2020.

The Plateauing Church

Church researcher, Thom Rainer, describes the state of the American Church based on his years of consulting with many different churches and denominations. He writes,

“Eight out of ten of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are declining or have plateaued.”

The Declining Church

While speaking at the Great Commission Research Network in 2011, Gary McIntosh declared,

“I have been working with a judicatory in the Midwest. In their district 97% of the churches are in decline. Not plateaued, but in decline.”

Lack of Turnaround Pastors

The Church of Jesus Christ in North America is in a free fall with no bottom in sight. 

Click here to read the full article.

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unnamedP.S. Church growth is my primary concern. It’s my birthday tomorrow and I have one wish – that this week you take steps to grow your church for the maximum Kingdom impact this fall – and beyond! To help you make that happen – ALL EIGHT of my Church Systems Seminars are HALF OFF! Click here to choose one, or all 8 to Save Big!

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

Nelson SearcyChurch Growth, Church Systems

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