Why are denominations losing members?
Christian denominations are experiencing rapid change. People are leaving denominations for unaffiliated places of worship. These non-denominational churches offer no specific "set in stone" beliefs other than worshipping God. There are no creeds, bureaucratic law-making processes, or specific liturgical calendars that the church is forced to follow.
Non-denominational churches also feature a place to go for young youth, who disagree with their home-denomination's social beliefs. These youth may be supportive of gay marriage rights, which many denominations have either turned down, have large inner arguments over, or are waiting to discuss. Members are leaving the church altogether because of stances on homosexuality, which is happening more frequently among millennials.
According to a 2009 pew research poll, 44% of all adults no longer belong to their childhood faith. Fifteen percent of those polled say they have changed to a different protestant faith.
Why is that though? Why do people change faiths?
One thought may be that their parents dragged them unwillingly to church. Other more prominent beliefs include changes in economic status, personal life, or circumstance. Many of the above people experience one of the above negatively and therefore, need some kind of change. In turn, they change something that can be changed. This means their church may suffer a loss based on personal life problems.
What is a denominational church's loss can be seen as a non-denominational gain. People are lured there by friends, family, commercials, and televised sermons. Advertised on commercials and billboards are events that target certain audiences like children, who beg their parents to take them to these events.
According to a poll by the Hartford Institute for Religious Research, 35,000 non-denominational churches represent more than 12,200,000 people. According to that same poll, if all the non-denominational churches were put together, it would make up the third largest Christian group, trailing only the Roman Catholics and Southern Baptist Convention.
So, what are the denominations doing about it?
There are many different answers to that, and I cannot ask every single church around what they are doing. In a later piece, I will have investigated this in a sample of local churches.
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