As a now retired pastor I am aware of the continual decline in membership (and congregations) in my own Presbytery and across the nation.
At the same time, I am not aware (it may be happening without my knowledge) of a program or process ,nationally or locally, to reverse the trend
With the adoption of Amendment 10-A, the membership roles will probably dip below 2 million by the end of this year, 2011. Member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Gresham Oregon.
Don--The Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area is helping with the new church development. Learn more here: http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/church-growth/new-church-development/ Membership numbers for 2010 will be released by the Office of the General Assembly this summer. That will help us see if the trend you noticed is continuing. Stay tuned!
While we appear to be "falling less rapidly" in our losses we are also "growing less rapidly" in our new church development. Bottom line: by 2012 we could easily fall below 2M members.
I've shared information on denominational attendance trends with Mr. McFarland. If anyone else is interested in that information, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
What I would appreciate seeing is a report on actual attendance trends. I do see the % of attendance to membership for various size churches but what are the national numbers for Sunday worship attendance over the past 25 years? I believe this is a much more significant number to measure than membership? Thanks for any help you can forward along.
We included some of that information in last year's introductory article. Take a look at: http://www.pcusa.org/media/uploads/research/pdfs/cs-2008.pdf
It might be illuminating to have an accompanying graph of # of congregations over the years since the merger (or from our high) plotted against number of churches added, number dissolved, merged, dismissed, etc.
Just a thought.