A December 7, 2009 report from the Barna Group details the continued slide of the mainline churches (i.e. the American Baptist Churches in the USA; the Episcopal Church; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Presbyterian Church (USA); the United Church of Christ; and the United Methodist Church, and Disciples of Christ, the so-called “Seven Sister” of American Protestantism). They are still wealthy but their membership continues its decline.
The Wikipedia page gives these membership statistics:
- United Methodist Church 7,931,733 members (2008)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 4,709,956 members (2008)
- Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2,140,165 members (2008)
- Episcopal Church (United States) 2,116,749 members (2008)
- American Baptist Churches in the USA 1,358,351 members (2008)
- United Church of Christ 1,145,281 members (2008)
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 691,160 (2008)
Does anyone think that there are actually 7 million mainline Methodists or 2 million mainline Episcopalians or an equal number of mainline Presbyterians?
Once more, those groups rushing toward the declining mainline might want to reconsider their destination. The mainline isn’t what it used to be.