PC(USA) membership lies in medium-sized congregations

May 12, 2015

Louisville

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) members, by and large, belong to churches with medium-sized congregations of between 150 to 599 members, according to 2014 statistics released by the Office of the General Assembly.

Based on the numbers, 708,062 congregants—42.5 percent of total membership—belong to churches directly in the middle between small- and large-sized congregations. That breaks down to 349,241 in churches with membership between 150 to 299, and 358,821 in churches with membership between 300 to 599.

“The PC(USA) is a church made up of vibrant congregations doing their best to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities and in the world,” said the Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). “Membership declines continue, but on a whole the denomination is settling into the new thing God is creating.”

Total membership at the end of 2014 was 1,667,767. That’s compared to 1,760,200 at the end of 2013 and 1,849,496 at the end of 2012.

The total number of churches in 2014 was 9,829, compared to 10,038 in 2013 and 10,262 in 2012. Significant of the 209-church loss of 2014 was the fact that only 101 of those were dismissed to other denominations, a decrease from the 148 congregations dismissed to other denominations in 2013.

Also significant was the tally churches reported of non-members their congregations served or ministered among in 2014 through activities, programs, and outreach. The average reported was 815 people.

“Membership statistics and church numbers tell one story, but it’s not the entire message of how the PC(USA) is impacting the world,” Parsons said. “God continues to breathe new life into our work and challenges us to find new, creative ways to touch and transform lives.”

Read the complete summary of statistics.
Read the miscellaneous information.

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  1. Their is an economic truism called Gresham's Law which, in brief, tells us that if there are two or more forms of currency in circulation, the "bad money will drive out the good ". It has happened every time a government has introduced a cheaper, less intrinsically valuable currency...the valuable currency is removed from circulation because it is more valuable than the cheapened one despite being officially the same value. Examples: gold coins disappeared when currency not backed by gold was introduced; the 90% silver content coins disappeared when 40% silver coins were introduced and they, in turn, disappeared when the silverless coins were put into circulation. The same principle occurs when an organization with prescribed standards and beliefs decides to dilute or even abandon those widely accepted and cherished standards. Those who hold those standards as important will be driven out to look elsewhere for a group that still holds those standards as important. Those who stay will have to accept the dilution or elimination of those standards. In the PC (USA) it is apparent that those in charge are driving an agenda that includes: dilution of the Bible as the sole authority for faith & practices; diminishing the total authority and divinity of Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and the head of the Church; abusing the best scholarly stardards and practices for the interpretation and application of the Scriptures to our lives; continuing attacks against the absolutes revealed in the Bible. The Church is NOT in the situation ethics business NOR does it get to choose which of God's commands and behavioral standards to obey or ignore. Gresham was right - 'bad money is driving out the good'.

    by Bud

    February 27, 2017

  2. Having been a PCUSA 24 year member the new thing is an old thing God's people have always gravitated to; to fit into the worlds aspirations and ways. Our sexual ethics, and social justice doctrines are pretty much echoes of the secular culture. So I guess the new thing is assimilation, and conformation.

    by Craig Wilson

    January 9, 2017

  3. I am a disappointed, lifelong Presbyterian who has never felt more alienated or forgotten by my Presbyterian parish. Presbyterians do a terrible job of reaching out to lift up their fellow parishioners. Congregational care at my church is very weak, and the minister in charge comes across as a bit brusque. I never thought I'd be faced with looking for an entirely new Christian denomination, but I have no faith in the Presbyterian Church as being a house of God any longer. I feel that my church is more of a social club or country club, rather than a pillar of the Holy Trinity.

    by Stephen

    March 24, 2016

  4. I don't see how these statistics reflect us "settling into the new thing God is creating." This is the largest statistical loss ever.

    by John Arnold

    May 23, 2015

  5. The Press Release says "information released by...." Where was it released? The two PDFs linked don't have the information in the press release. Where's the whole report that this PR summarizes?

    by Luke Jones

    May 15, 2015

  6. With all this hand wringing, it is good to recall that it is God's church, and that we shall undertake the mission even at risk to our own life. It is also good for us to remember John 6:55-69. "Do you want to leave too?" Jesus asks the 12. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    by Karen Allamon

    May 15, 2015

  7. This partly because of the 15 largest PCUSA churches in 2004: 7 left for ECO 1 left for EPC 1 is in legal disputes, 1 is going through a dismissal process. Of the remaining, 2 of the 5 are part of the Fellowship.

    by Wes Barry

    May 14, 2015

  8. If my arithmetic is correct, the PC(USA) will be extinct in 18 years. Total Membership 2014 1,769,200 Total Membership 2014 -1,667,767 Members Lost 92,433 1,667,767/ 92,433 = 18 years Question: What can be done (we do) to help reduce/prevent this loss?

    by J Tom Allen

    May 13, 2015

  9. This headline seems a good example of obscuring another drastic membership loss for the PC(USA) ... over 92,000 members gone, which is 5.5% of the total.

    by John Erthein

    May 13, 2015

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