New Data Reveals Big Gains for Non-Denominational Churches

Episode #784
January 17, 2023
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A recent Christianity Today article reported on data from the 2020 Religion Census. According to the report, every Protestant denomination has declined while those congregations claiming to be non-denominational gained millions of people. Thom and Sam discuss their thoughts on this report and what it may mean for the future of churches affiliated with Protestant denominations. 

  • Some churches claim non-denominational when in reality they are loosely affiliated.
  • Institutional decline of denominations is not a new phenomenon. The denomination is only as healthy as the churches in it. Mainline denominations have struggled for decades.
  • Many denominations are at the point of having too many struggling churches and not enough healthy churches. The healthy churches are too few to resource and help struggling churches.
  • Historically, non-denominational churches grew through Mainline transfer growth. Today, the growth is fueled by those who are coming from a Catholic background.
  • Conversion growth is unfortunately extremely rare. Gains in attendance are more often attributed to transfer growth and biological growth (people in conservative churches have higher birth rates). 

Christianity Today article referenced in this podcast:




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