Wineskins Archive

February 4, 2014

US Churches/Culture and 10 Realities in 2005 (Sep-Dec 2005)

Filed under: — @ 6:37 pm and

by Thom S. Rainer
September – December, 2005

1. Increase in US unchurched population (“unchurched” defined as attending 0-1 x a year, which is not a good definition but it’s major criteria used here). There are 400,000 churches in US. Unchurched population increased from 38% in 1965 to 61% today.

2. Decreasing evangelistic effectiveness of new churches. 23:1 ratio in ’85 to 34:1 in 2005, meaning how many church members it takes to reach one person in a year. Established churches ratio is 86:1. Problem of shuffling sheep.

3. The wide open back door in churches. Five year assimilation rate is 29%. Why? One reason is low expectations. We expect more from our children’s sports teams than we do church members.

4. Greater receptivity by the “unchurched unchurched” (nearly absolutely no church background). U1: highly receptive 11%, U2: receptive 27%, U3: Neutral 36%, U4: Resistant 21%, U5: antagonistic 5%. Most church members think the majority of unchurched are either resistant or antagonistic, but this is not true.

5. Inviting people to church issue. 80% of those polled would come if asked but 80% also say they’ve never been asked. They say they’d come if asked and if “someone walks in the door with me.” 69% actually did come when walking in door with them, 12% came when left to their own to come in.

6. Conversion of young people. 81% become Christians before age 20, 75% become Christians before age 15.

7. Deteriorating church health. Of 400,000 churches in America, 248,000 in numerical decline (62%), 84,000 growing but slower than rate of growth (21%), 68,000 churches growing as fast or faster than community (17%).

8. Declines in evangelism and ministers. 54% of those who are ministers have shared their faith in the last 6 months . . . as leaders go, so goes the church.

9. The mid-size mystery. Greater evangelistic effectiveness in churches with an attendance of 200-400.

10. Satisfaction with mediocrity. Theme of Rainer’s latest book, Break Out Churches. It is a sin to be good when God has called us to great (plays off book, Good to Great).

Conclusion: Zechariah 4:1-9 … Not by men’s wisdom or might but by God’s power. Zerubbabel – “build the walls, build God’s church by his power …”New Wineskins

Thom S. RainerOur New Wineskins staffer attended the Kairos Church Planting meeting in St. Louis in September, where Thom S. Rainer spoke about the current American church and culture and how we can more effectively plant churches in our country and Christ in hearts of our people. Rainer is the author of Breakout Churches: Discover How To Make The Leap, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them and Eating the Elephant: Leading the Established Church to Growth, among others.

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