The times are changing.
I compiled these statistics for the leadership of our church. They are just brief snapshots of our culture, as well as statistics on church growth and membership. Our unique American brand of life is evident here, and is noticed in statistics that are current.
While these statistics may cause a bit of culture shock, the statistics on declining church membership should be equally, if not more, shocking. And it is not a far stretch to assume that the first series of statistics are relevant to the second series of statistics.
- Social Media
- There are, now, 800 million Facebook accounts.
- More than 50% of active users log into Facebook every day.
- There are more than 2 billion posts liked and commented on every day.
- 250 million photos are uploaded every day.
- 75% of Facebook users are outside the U.S.
- It is available in 70 languages.
- 47% of Facebook users have swear words on their Facebook profiles.
- The average Facebook user spends almost 8 hours on Facebook every month.
- Facebook links about sex are shared 90% more than average.
- 41% of teenagers are very unsure about the future of email, and 15% already consider it dead.
- The words “retweet” and “sexting” are now part of the Oxford English Dictionary.
- And shopping on “Cyber Monday” – the Monday following “Black Friday” – this year added sales in excess of $1.25 billion, up 22% from the totals of 2010, breaking last year’s record high.
- Americans viewed 42 billion online videos in October, 2011.
- That is 21.1 hours per viewer.
- Half of those were watched on YouTube, or other Google sites.
- Half of all 12-year-olds are on Facebook (some 1.78 million), and they are evading Facebook’s age limit requirements.
- 45% of Millennials (those between 18 and 34 years old) use their mobile devices to research product details before buying big ticket items. (As compared to 34% of those between 35 and 54.)
- 28% of these use their devices for location-based apps multiple times a day.
- 33% of the more than 1400 18-29-year-olds surveyed said that Internet access has become a basic need ranking behind air, water, food and shelter.
- 64% said they would prefer an Internet connection to a having a car.
- 40% said that the Internet is more important than dating or going out with friends or even listening to music.
- Video Games
- Seven of the top 10 video games, sold in America in 2011, were “shooter games.”
- “92% of the “Top Ten” Billboard songs are about sex.”
- Of the top selling 174 songs in 2009, each contained, on average, 10.49 sex-related phrases per song.
- Family Time
- “The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.”
- “Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children.”
- “Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds.”
- “Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders.”
- “Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week.”
- “Family time has decreased since 1976.”
- “The percentage of respondents who engaged frequently in attending religious services together decreased from 38 percent in 1976 to 29 percent in 1997.
- The percentage who engaged frequently in watching television together decreased from 54 percent to 42 percent.
- The percentage who engaged frequently in sitting and talking together decreased from 53 percent to 42 percent.
- The percentage of respondents who frequently have the main meal together on weekdays decreased from 72 percent to 58 percent — and the percentage who take a vacation together decreased from 53 percent to 38 percent.”
Church Growth, or Lack of, In America:
- “How many people do you know who will, most likely, not walk into a church building? They are not alone. Western cultures are facing a major crisis. With 83.6% of America not attending a conventional church on a given weekend and approximately 95% of the people in other western cultures not attending a conventional church …”
- “Approximately 80% of all churches in North America have reached a plateau or are declining. The vast majority of the church’s growth comes from “switchers” – people who move from one church to another.”
- “There is precious little conversion growth. Researchers suggest somewhere between 1-3%.”
- Church attendance is declining:
1990 — 20.4% of Americans attended church on a given weekend
2000 — 18.7% of Americans attended church on a given weekend
2005 — 17.5% of Americans attended church on a given weekend
2010 — 16.2% estimated church attendance
2020 — 14.4% estimated church attendance
2050 — 10.7% estimated church attendance if Jesus has not come.
- “Other western cultures, like Europe, Australia, and New Zealand record church attendance ranging between 2% – 8%.”
- “As of 2008 over 3,500 people leave the church every day.”
- “The yearly decline in the percentage of people attending a Christian church was faster from 2000—2005 than it was from 1990—2000.”
- “The average church in the United States will spend as much as 64 percent of its budget on staff salaries.
Additionally, it will spend as much as 30 percent of its offerings on maintaining its buildings.
Researchers say that churches spend between 82 – 96 percent of their financial resources on maintaining themselves.
In 2001 “the total cost of Christian outreach worldwide averages $330,000 for each newly baptized person. The cost per baptism in the United States tops $1.5 million.”
- “Fuller Theological Seminary did a research study that found that if a church is 10 or more years old, it takes 85 people to lead 1 person to Christ. If a church is less than 3 years old, it takes only 3 people to lead 1 person to Christ.”
- “Between 1990 and 2050 church attendance will grow from 50 million to 60 million.
Census estimates forecast a population growth from 248 million to 520 million people.
In other words, America would need (as of 2008) 15,000 new churches of any kind every year to keep up with population.”
- “Every year, approximately 4000 new churches open their doors. Every year approximately 7000 churches close their doors for the last time.”
- “Agreeing with other researchers, George Barna, in his book Revolution, has confirmed that many are going to house churches, in a spiritual quest of a more relevant relationship with God.”
- “The new Revolution differs in that its primary impetus is not salvation among the unrepentant but the personal renewal and recommitment of believers. The dominant catalyst is people’s desperation for a genuine relationship with God. The renewal of that relationship spurs believers to participate in spreading the gospel. Rather than relying on a relative handful of inspired preachers to promote a national revival, the emerging Revolution is truly a grassroots explosion of commitment to God that will refine the Church and result in a natural and widespread immersion in outreach.” (From George Barna’s book, Revolution.)