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Author Topic: A rough decade for American congregations  (Read 1708 times)
loco
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« on: September 21, 2011, 10:41:10 AM »

A new decade-long survey of American congregations shows religious health and vitality are weaker than they were 10 years ago.  While the survey showed that many congregations are adopting new technologies and innovative worship, there were steep drops in financial health and attendance at weekly worship services.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research released the study's findings Saturday in a report titled "A Decade of Change in American Congregations, 2000 – 2010" authored by David A. Roozen.

In the measured decade, churches, temples and synagogues told surveyors that congregations that were innovative and contemporary showed the highest amount of "high spiritual vitality."

Forty-seven percent of congregations that said their worship experience was "innovative and contemporary" reported high spiritual vitality, versus 17% that said their congregations were "neither innovative nor contemporary."

The vast majority of congregations implemented electronic communications in the past decade.  Recently, many have turned to social networking as well, with 41% using Facebook to communicate with congregants.

Congregations are also having hard times financially, the survey found.  In 2000, 31% of survey participants reported excellent financial health.  In 2010, that number plummeted to just 14%.

The recession, Roozen writes in the report, "affected nearly every kind of congregation equally – large and small; north, south, east and west; financially healthy or struggling before the recession. One bit of good news was that one in 10 congregations reported that by the time of the survey, they had already begun to recover."

Roozen writes that a variety of factors led to the decline, but overall, there are fewer Americans in the pews, and "... more than 1 in 4 American congregations had fewer than 50 in worship in 2010, and just under half had fewer than 100. Overall, median weekend worship attendance of your typical congregation dropped from 130 to 108 during the decade, according to the FACT surveys."

FACT refers to Faith Communities Today, a multifaith coalition that researches congregational life.

While megachurches - congregations with more than 2,000 members - continued to grow in popularity, they still represent only a fraction of American congregations, at one-half of 1%.  "And while it appears to be true they are attracting an ever bigger slice of the religious attender pie, it is a bigger slice of a shrinking pie," Roozen wrote.

The decline hit across religious and denominational lines, sparing no one, Roozen wrote. He said that "no single category or kind of congregation ... was exempt from the decadal downsizing of worship attendance."

The data came from Faith Communities Today surveys and represents 11,077 congregations and 120 denominations of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, the institute said.  Most often, the surveys were completed by the congregation's leader, and the institute estimates the margin of error to be plus or minus 4 percentage points.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/20/a-rough-decade-for-american-congregations/?hpt=hp_bn8
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Hugo Chavez
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 11:59:37 PM »

Church Attendance Increasing in U.S
http://www.christianpost.com/news/poll-church-attendance-increasing-in-us-45729/
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tu_holmes
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2011, 12:05:26 AM »


Polls like that interest me, mostly because you never know if someone is  being honest or not.

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Hugo Chavez
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2011, 03:37:44 AM »

Polls like that interest me, mostly because you never know if someone is  being honest or not.


There's a shit load of christian sources saying that the poll is not accurate and it's closer to 20 percent.  They figure it's a question people are not easily honest on.

BUT, they've been taking the same poll for something like 70 years and the amount has always been fairly close to 40%

Those evangelicals seem to be doing just fine.  I ran across several sites recording individual church attendance going up and up.  I know 15 years ago, in the area I live, there were none of these psychos on the radio and now there's like half a dozen stations spewing the strangest stuff.  I don't get those guys, they seem to be more worried about Israel and politics than preaching christian stuff.  Half the time I hear them, they're talking about Israel and Jews and almost nothing about christians or new test...

And this new group of Jesus wants you to be rich types like joel osteen are brining in insane numbers.  They sure are not hurting lol...
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2011, 09:39:04 AM »

There's a shit load of christian sources saying that the poll is not accurate and it's closer to 20 percent.  They figure it's a question people are not easily honest on.

BUT, they've been taking the same poll for something like 70 years and the amount has always been fairly close to 40%

Those evangelicals seem to be doing just fine.  I ran across several sites recording individual church attendance going up and up.  I know 15 years ago, in the area I live, there were none of these psychos on the radio and now there's like half a dozen stations spewing the strangest stuff.  I don't get those guys, they seem to be more worried about Israel and politics than preaching christian stuff.  Half the time I hear them, they're talking about Israel and Jews and almost nothing about christians or new test...

And this new group of Jesus wants you to be rich types like joel osteen are brining in insane numbers.  They sure are not hurting lol...

 Undecided
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Hugo Chavez
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2011, 04:06:07 PM »

Undecided
which part?
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2011, 03:14:59 AM »

which part?

Just depressing that so many people fall for some of this shit...
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Butterbean
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2011, 06:29:32 AM »

Just depressing that so many people fall for some of this shit...

Are you referring to the prosperity gospel type b.s.?
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R
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2011, 09:57:40 AM »

Are you referring to the prosperity gospel type b.s.?

Just as one example, sure.
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Hugo Chavez
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 09:04:25 PM »

yea, this guy sure isn't hurting:

Get rich quick with Jesus!!! lol...

Lakewood Church
It is the largest congregation in the United States, averaging more than 43,500 in attendance per week
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakewood_Church
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Butterbean
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2011, 09:10:24 AM »

Joel Osteen Ministries/ Lakewood Church  (still showing on MinistryWatch's Donor Alert list)

"Neither ministry posts their audited financial statements on a website and based on
MinistryWatch.com’s request for basic information, nor would they give any to MinistryWatch.com.

Without information donors cannot make optimal decisions.

Understand what it is you are going to support. Ministries that are not open in providing
basic information are obstructing prudent donors in understanding. In addition,
Ministries are seen by many as teachers and ones with authority. What are these
ministries teaching by their example? Are others to follow their example? What
would the nonprofit sector look like if they all followed the example of a closed
shop? Are not Christians to be light in a world of darkness? Should not Christians
set the standard by their conduct?"
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2011, 08:41:07 PM »

Joel Osteen Ministries/ Lakewood Church  (still showing on MinistryWatch's Donor Alert list)

"Neither ministry posts their audited financial statements on a website and based on
MinistryWatch.com’s request for basic information, nor would they give any to MinistryWatch.com.

Without information donors cannot make optimal decisions.

Understand what it is you are going to support. Ministries that are not open in providing
basic information are obstructing prudent donors in understanding. In addition,
Ministries are seen by many as teachers and ones with authority. What are these
ministries teaching by their example? Are others to follow their example? What
would the nonprofit sector look like if they all followed the example of a closed
shop? Are not Christians to be light in a world of darkness? Should not Christians
set the standard by their conduct?"

LOL, no wonder the guy wants his followers to get rich quick.  The more money they make, the more money he makes and he's not showing what it's used for.  I need to start my own legal scam like this lol...
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garebear
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 09:58:55 PM »

Jesus saves for 99 cents/ minute.
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 05:16:16 AM »

Jesus saves for 99 cents/ minute.
more like 9.95 per minute lol, don't forget to fork over your 10% total income...

God has a deal you can't refuse lol...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvKXt3Surlk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvKXt3Surlk</a>
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Butterbean
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2011, 06:56:00 AM »

more like 9.95 per minute lol, don't forget to fork over your 10% total income...


Interestingly, tithing is not commanded for Christians (as far as I can tell), but many do tithe and donate to Charity anyway.
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R
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« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2011, 02:07:51 PM »

Interestingly, tithing is not commanded for Christians (as far as I can tell), but many do tithe and donate to Charity anyway.

  I do it, although I donate my 10% to a charity that helps persecuted Jews immigrate back to Israel (www.ifcj.com) rather than give it to the church like many church leaders urge us to do. The day after I made a firm commitment to tithe this way, I got a very significant raise at work.
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Hugo Chavez
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« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2011, 04:51:01 PM »

  I do it, although I donate my 10% to a charity that helps persecuted Jews immigrate back to Israel (www.ifcj.com) rather than give it to the church like many church leaders urge us to do. The day after I made a firm commitment to tithe this way, I got a very significant raise at work.
I hope this is a joke?   Undecided
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Butterbean
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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2011, 07:37:06 AM »

I hope this is a joke?   Undecided

What part do you hope is a joke?  If it's the ministry, that is a good ministry.

If it's that you don't believe he was rewarded for helping Jews, I believe he def. could have been.  

Although I don't think N.T. Christians are required to tithe, many of us find miraculous blessings from doing so, in fact, as indicated in the O.T. it is the only way people are actually encouraged to test God.

Malachi 3:10
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

In addition, in Genesis God is speaking to Abram (Abraham) regarding the nation of Israel when He says:

Genesis 12:3
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse

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loco
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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2011, 08:48:25 AM »

Interestingly, tithing is not commanded for Christians (as far as I can tell), but many do tithe and donate to Charity anyway.

 I do it, although I donate my 10% to a charity that helps persecuted Jews immigrate back to Israel (www.ifcj.com) rather than give it to the church like many church leaders urge us to do. The day after I made a firm commitment to tithe this way, I got a very significant raise at work.

There is debate among Christians on whether or not Christians are commanded to tithe, and on whether or not they are commanded to tithe to their church.  Churches still encourage Christians to give more than 10% if they want to and to donate to good charities outside the church too, after they have given their tithe to the church.  

I believe that is between the person and God.  I personally believe that as a Christian, I am commanded to tithe and to tithe to my church.  But that's just me.  I started tithing when I was a teenager, and my income has increased ever since.  I have never lost a job or had to take a pay cut in my life...knock knock.     Smiley

Matthew 23:23
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Malachi 3:10
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.


But like Butterbean said, most Christians tend to give 10% or more of their income whether or not they believe that they are commanded to do so.

The IFCJ looks like a great organization.  I had heard of it a few years ago.  They are very transparent with their finances which is great!
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« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2011, 02:11:33 PM »

Genesis 12:3
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse

  One of my favorite verses. And IFCJ is a great charity.
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Butterbean
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« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2011, 03:19:02 PM »

  One of my favorite verses. And IFCJ is a great charity.

Yep
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« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2011, 04:38:56 PM »

  I do it, although I donate my 10% to a charity that helps persecuted Jews immigrate back to Israel (www.ifcj.com) rather than give it to the church like many church leaders urge us to do. The day after I made a firm commitment to tithe this way, I got a very significant raise at work.

Just curious, where are these persecuted Jews coming from?
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Purge_WTF
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« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2011, 01:46:59 AM »

Just curious, where are these persecuted Jews coming from?

  Russia, mostly.
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« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2011, 02:48:54 AM »

  Russia, mostly.

One of the few areas where there actually still is oppression.
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« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2011, 05:33:00 AM »

One of the few areas where there actually still is oppression.

What about Jews in Muslim nations?
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