One indication of this -- beyond financial struggles -- is worship attendance, and as David A. Roozen writes in the study, "... 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 is a reference to Faith Communities Today, a multifaith research coalition.)
Well, none of that is good news for congregations, but I want to suggest that measuring worship attendance is an increasingly misleading way of measuring the health of a congregation.
Many people find traditional worship times (Sunday mornings for Christians, Friday evenings or Saturdays for Jews, Friday afternoons for Muslims) difficult to live with nowadays.
So although many of these people won't be found in regular worship services each time there is one, they remain active in their faith in many ways. They may volunteer at the site of one of their congregation's mission partners, attend a study group in the middle of the week or visit the sick on behalf of their congregation.
Studies such as the one I've linked you to are useful in that they point out some harsh realities that congregations must face. (So I'll get out of the way here and let you go back and read the full report.) But such studies don't tell the whole story, and especially those congregations that are encouraging lots of connections outside of worship should remember that.
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SOME MORE ALICE-IN-WONDERLAND THEOLOGY
A prominent Southern Baptist leader says the death penalty is inherently pro-life. In the same way that burning down that Vietnamese village was pro-saving it?