Religious retention rates

A study of religious retention rates–that is, what percentage of people raised in a particular church or religion stay with it when they are grown–is quite interesting.  Lutherans are in second place among Protestants (58%),  just after the Baptists (60%).  The group with the worst performance in transmitting their beliefs to their young people is atheists (30%).

 

Did you know that Atheists have the lowest retention rate of any “religious” group? Some interesting Data from CARA | Archdiocese of Washington.

 

HT:  Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    “Did you know that atheists have the lowest retention rate…”

    Attributable, no doubt, to the prevalence of foxholes.

  • Pete

    “Did you know that atheists have the lowest retention rate…”

    Attributable, no doubt, to the prevalence of foxholes.

  • http://www.docsdining.blogspot.com Jason

    I guess I would want to know what they mean retention rates. What does it mean, for example, to continue in Judaism? Is it a cultural identification, or a religious one? In other words, does it really matter to their lives–do they believe the doctrines that are taught?

  • http://www.docsdining.blogspot.com Jason

    I guess I would want to know what they mean retention rates. What does it mean, for example, to continue in Judaism? Is it a cultural identification, or a religious one? In other words, does it really matter to their lives–do they believe the doctrines that are taught?

  • http://dieisgain.blogspot.com Rob

    Given the number of Christian groups represented (versus other religions as a group) these figures are highly misleading, and not comparing like with like.

  • http://dieisgain.blogspot.com Rob

    Given the number of Christian groups represented (versus other religions as a group) these figures are highly misleading, and not comparing like with like.

  • larry

    A good friend and older brother of ours in our church told us an observation he has noted in his decades within the Lutheran church (he’s in his 70s now and was raised Lutheran), and this may just be local or regional but he has observed that by a larger number boys that grow up in the Lutheran church tend to marry and leave the church for their wife’s heterodoxy. While on the other hand the girls who marry outside fellows tend to bring them into the church. I found that interesting. Either way you look at it it’s the same, the boys tend to follow the girls background, though this is not 100% the case.

  • larry

    A good friend and older brother of ours in our church told us an observation he has noted in his decades within the Lutheran church (he’s in his 70s now and was raised Lutheran), and this may just be local or regional but he has observed that by a larger number boys that grow up in the Lutheran church tend to marry and leave the church for their wife’s heterodoxy. While on the other hand the girls who marry outside fellows tend to bring them into the church. I found that interesting. Either way you look at it it’s the same, the boys tend to follow the girls background, though this is not 100% the case.

  • larry

    Just calculating a rough back of napkin of the % as a stat and pulling out only those that are Christian, excluding clear cults, the Christian tally comes in at about 56 UCL95

  • larry

    Just calculating a rough back of napkin of the % as a stat and pulling out only those that are Christian, excluding clear cults, the Christian tally comes in at about 56 UCL95

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    larry @ 4,
    I think that’s more due to boys in general. I know of at least two men (one Lutheran, one Nazarene) who conformed to the Catholicism of their female love interests.

    In all truth it can be a form of idolatry, sacrificing sound theology for the love of a spouse. Reminds us of Jesus’ words, that whoever loves father or mother more than Him is not worthy of Him. I’m sure He would include a spouse in that list as well.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    larry @ 4,
    I think that’s more due to boys in general. I know of at least two men (one Lutheran, one Nazarene) who conformed to the Catholicism of their female love interests.

    In all truth it can be a form of idolatry, sacrificing sound theology for the love of a spouse. Reminds us of Jesus’ words, that whoever loves father or mother more than Him is not worthy of Him. I’m sure He would include a spouse in that list as well.

  • SKPeterson

    larry – Todd and I are exceptions to that rule, but how indicative we are of any trend or counter-trend I don’t know. I made allowance to my wife and we were married in her church (Disciples of Christ). I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not become a member of her church, and that she could expect to become a Lutheran through the next adult education class.

  • SKPeterson

    larry – Todd and I are exceptions to that rule, but how indicative we are of any trend or counter-trend I don’t know. I made allowance to my wife and we were married in her church (Disciples of Christ). I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not become a member of her church, and that she could expect to become a Lutheran through the next adult education class.

  • Joe

    Larry I am also an exception to that rule, as is my father. In our congregation I see about an even split of who brought who into the Lutheranism.

  • Joe

    Larry I am also an exception to that rule, as is my father. In our congregation I see about an even split of who brought who into the Lutheranism.

  • larry

    JD,
    I agree, I suppose it harkens back to the fall and that order.

    Joe and SK,
    I understand, same here. I was the lead of leading our household out of and into the various confessions to where we are. My wife’s background was lifelong always involved many family in the ministry baptist, mine not so (my family tree was more of mixture of bap/Methodist, but personally I was a stark atheist from around 7th grade on. Hell it was the reason I chose my profession waaaay back). So it was a challenge being the “lone guy” in all the family to go where we went.

    We often lament and joke, “you can’t talk to her family because they are so religious and you can’t talk to mine because they don’t like talking religion at all”, so you chit chat about the weather and a smidge about politics.

  • larry

    JD,
    I agree, I suppose it harkens back to the fall and that order.

    Joe and SK,
    I understand, same here. I was the lead of leading our household out of and into the various confessions to where we are. My wife’s background was lifelong always involved many family in the ministry baptist, mine not so (my family tree was more of mixture of bap/Methodist, but personally I was a stark atheist from around 7th grade on. Hell it was the reason I chose my profession waaaay back). So it was a challenge being the “lone guy” in all the family to go where we went.

    We often lament and joke, “you can’t talk to her family because they are so religious and you can’t talk to mine because they don’t like talking religion at all”, so you chit chat about the weather and a smidge about politics.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Larry, in my congregation, conformation candidates that come in because of their spouse, is about evenly split between the sexes.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Larry, in my congregation, conformation candidates that come in because of their spouse, is about evenly split between the sexes.

  • WebMonk

    I’d be interested on the error bars on the study. I would imagine that it’s the standard 3%, which would put the Baptists and Lutherans at the same retention rate.

    Like has been mentioned above, I would also be interested in knowing the criteria for determining whether a person has remained in their original denomination/religion.

    The survey from which that graphic was generated was done by Pew (and passed into the blogosphere through CARA).

  • WebMonk

    I’d be interested on the error bars on the study. I would imagine that it’s the standard 3%, which would put the Baptists and Lutherans at the same retention rate.

    Like has been mentioned above, I would also be interested in knowing the criteria for determining whether a person has remained in their original denomination/religion.

    The survey from which that graphic was generated was done by Pew (and passed into the blogosphere through CARA).

  • Norman Teigen

    Putnam and Robinson report that the Nones have been on the increase for the past twenty five years or so. Their analysis is worthy of very serious consideration.

    Norman Teigen, Layman
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod

  • Norman Teigen

    Putnam and Robinson report that the Nones have been on the increase for the past twenty five years or so. Their analysis is worthy of very serious consideration.

    Norman Teigen, Layman
    Evangelical Lutheran Synod

  • #4 Kitty

    People who switched from identifying as “atheist” to identifying as “None” or “agnostic” were counted as a loss, which seems a bit odd.

  • #4 Kitty

    People who switched from identifying as “atheist” to identifying as “None” or “agnostic” were counted as a loss, which seems a bit odd.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty, I maintain that those are quite distinct. Atheism makes a positive :) statement, ie there is no….., whereas the others say that either the cannot be sure (agnostic), or they just don’t care enough. Big difference.

    I still believe strongly that agnosticism (or none) are the only non-religions – atheism very much requires belief in that which is impossible to prove, which makes it a religion.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kitty, I maintain that those are quite distinct. Atheism makes a positive :) statement, ie there is no….., whereas the others say that either the cannot be sure (agnostic), or they just don’t care enough. Big difference.

    I still believe strongly that agnosticism (or none) are the only non-religions – atheism very much requires belief in that which is impossible to prove, which makes it a religion.

  • Pingback: Religion, Reform, and Retention

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  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    Playing devil’s advocate here. Does any unbiased information exist? This links to a Catholic website which links to Hartford seminary and a blog.

    Another question: Those reported to remain is that done so due to actual trust in the teaching of that religious group? What are the actual attendance in congregations or groups that pad the numbers.

    Excuse my skepticism.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    Playing devil’s advocate here. Does any unbiased information exist? This links to a Catholic website which links to Hartford seminary and a blog.

    Another question: Those reported to remain is that done so due to actual trust in the teaching of that religious group? What are the actual attendance in congregations or groups that pad the numbers.

    Excuse my skepticism.

  • #4 Kitty

    Klasie, I do in part agree with your points; particularly that Atheism requires faith. However, if Atheists are losing numbers to the Hindu’s then I’d say they have a problem but Atheists converting to Agnostics or Nones? ~not so much.

  • #4 Kitty

    Klasie, I do in part agree with your points; particularly that Atheism requires faith. However, if Atheists are losing numbers to the Hindu’s then I’d say they have a problem but Atheists converting to Agnostics or Nones? ~not so much.

  • http://afireinmybones.blogspot.com Dustin Kunz

    Can you link the study? I’d like to read the particulars on this.

    -What is meant by retention? Over what length of time?
    -Do they classify shifts between Hindu people, as that’s more a cultural moniker than a religion?
    -How do Christian Protestants fare as a whole?
    -Where are Agnostics? the “none” category?

    I would certainly appreciate a chance to evaluate this study further.

  • http://afireinmybones.blogspot.com Dustin Kunz

    Can you link the study? I’d like to read the particulars on this.

    -What is meant by retention? Over what length of time?
    -Do they classify shifts between Hindu people, as that’s more a cultural moniker than a religion?
    -How do Christian Protestants fare as a whole?
    -Where are Agnostics? the “none” category?

    I would certainly appreciate a chance to evaluate this study further.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    The link is to the left of the chart. The study has links within.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    The link is to the left of the chart. The study has links within.

  • Josh

    I’ve heard atheists argue that people hold to the religion of their parents because they are “brainwashed” by the parents. According to this chart, it looks like the atheists have a difficult time brainwashing their own kids.

  • Josh

    I’ve heard atheists argue that people hold to the religion of their parents because they are “brainwashed” by the parents. According to this chart, it looks like the atheists have a difficult time brainwashing their own kids.

  • larry

    KK,

    No doubt, that still makes sense with his observation. I.e. it could be “women lead” men % wise up to a 50/50 ceiling tolerance level. I wonder if there are significant cases, other than exceptions to the rule which presuppose a rule, where men lead by %.

    Still it could be just a local/regional thing too, because its a common observation across demoninational lines in this area/region.

  • larry

    KK,

    No doubt, that still makes sense with his observation. I.e. it could be “women lead” men % wise up to a 50/50 ceiling tolerance level. I wonder if there are significant cases, other than exceptions to the rule which presuppose a rule, where men lead by %.

    Still it could be just a local/regional thing too, because its a common observation across demoninational lines in this area/region.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I just don’t know what to make of the study. Honestly, it could be nothing more than a measure of cultural pressure to identify in a certain way. I can’t count the number of “perpetual” visitors who refuse to give up the claim of Catholic because of dear old Mom.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I just don’t know what to make of the study. Honestly, it could be nothing more than a measure of cultural pressure to identify in a certain way. I can’t count the number of “perpetual” visitors who refuse to give up the claim of Catholic because of dear old Mom.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I can’t count the number of “perpetual” visitors who refuse to give up the claim of Catholic because of dear old Mom.”

    How do the children of these perpetual visitors self identify?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I can’t count the number of “perpetual” visitors who refuse to give up the claim of Catholic because of dear old Mom.”

    How do the children of these perpetual visitors self identify?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How big are the liberal Baptist denominations/associations? It would seem they would bring down the averages.

    Same with Lutherans and Presbyterians. ELCA and PCUSA are larger than their respective Bible believing counterparts LCMS and PCA.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    How big are the liberal Baptist denominations/associations? It would seem they would bring down the averages.

    Same with Lutherans and Presbyterians. ELCA and PCUSA are larger than their respective Bible believing counterparts LCMS and PCA.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#23 Depends, a good number of “perpetual” visitors are spouses. In those cases many of their children self identify Lutheran. In the case of some, there are no children or the children have grown up and the answer is pretty varied from still Catholic to Lutheran to agnostic. Others the kids are split because to honor dear old mummies wishes they sent their kids to a Catholic school.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @#23 Depends, a good number of “perpetual” visitors are spouses. In those cases many of their children self identify Lutheran. In the case of some, there are no children or the children have grown up and the answer is pretty varied from still Catholic to Lutheran to agnostic. Others the kids are split because to honor dear old mummies wishes they sent their kids to a Catholic school.

  • WebMonk

    David #15 and 18, it was reported through a Catholic blog, but the original data came from a Pew survey. I don’t think you’re going to see a pro-Catholic bias in the data, though I guess the blog posting might be considered to have a bias.

    The data itself is pretty un-biased. See my post in #11.

  • WebMonk

    David #15 and 18, it was reported through a Catholic blog, but the original data came from a Pew survey. I don’t think you’re going to see a pro-Catholic bias in the data, though I guess the blog posting might be considered to have a bias.

    The data itself is pretty un-biased. See my post in #11.

  • SKPeterson

    sg – My guess is that they simply took “Lutheran” or “Baptist” as either a self-identification on the part of those surveyed, or by noting that a denomination with “Lutheran” or “Baptist” in its name was Lutheran or Baptist, whether it be ELCA, LCMS, ABC, SBC or any other variety. For me, I would have stayed in the Lutheran camp, even though in my life I’ve moved from LCA to ALC to LCA to ELCA to LCMS. If LCMS or WELS hadn’t been options I might be ACNA.

  • SKPeterson

    sg – My guess is that they simply took “Lutheran” or “Baptist” as either a self-identification on the part of those surveyed, or by noting that a denomination with “Lutheran” or “Baptist” in its name was Lutheran or Baptist, whether it be ELCA, LCMS, ABC, SBC or any other variety. For me, I would have stayed in the Lutheran camp, even though in my life I’ve moved from LCA to ALC to LCA to ELCA to LCMS. If LCMS or WELS hadn’t been options I might be ACNA.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @24

    I don’t really see that as so unhealthy. It seems that their conscience is weighing on them to honor their family and God and maybe they see RC self identification as the way to express it. If they are forking over their $$ for catholic schools, they are pretty sincere, although their conscience and reason could probably benefit from some Bible study.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @24

    I don’t really see that as so unhealthy. It seems that their conscience is weighing on them to honor their family and God and maybe they see RC self identification as the way to express it. If they are forking over their $$ for catholic schools, they are pretty sincere, although their conscience and reason could probably benefit from some Bible study.

  • DonS

    I’m with Rob @ 3 — the survey is meaningless for comparing Christians to other faiths, since the other faiths are not broken out by denomination; i.e. moving from one Hindu sect to another.

    As for inter-denominational movement, besides intermarriage, where one of the spouses has to leave the denomination of their youth in favor of the other spouse’s denomination, some of that is probably also based on local availability of a good church of a particular denomination. There are a lot of factors other than particular doctrinal nuances or worship practices which drive these changes, particularly in a mobile society such as ours.

  • DonS

    I’m with Rob @ 3 — the survey is meaningless for comparing Christians to other faiths, since the other faiths are not broken out by denomination; i.e. moving from one Hindu sect to another.

    As for inter-denominational movement, besides intermarriage, where one of the spouses has to leave the denomination of their youth in favor of the other spouse’s denomination, some of that is probably also based on local availability of a good church of a particular denomination. There are a lot of factors other than particular doctrinal nuances or worship practices which drive these changes, particularly in a mobile society such as ours.

  • WebMonk

    This is a US-only survey, again. Most of Protestant Americans don’t have any problems with changing from one denomination to another.

    Like DonS said, it’s not a very accurate reflection of Christianity as a whole, and that graphic is horrible because it’s comparing apples and oranges – individual denominations of Christianity with entire other religions as a whole.

  • WebMonk

    This is a US-only survey, again. Most of Protestant Americans don’t have any problems with changing from one denomination to another.

    Like DonS said, it’s not a very accurate reflection of Christianity as a whole, and that graphic is horrible because it’s comparing apples and oranges – individual denominations of Christianity with entire other religions as a whole.

  • Grace

    The study, if you can call it that, appears to be inaccurate.

  • Grace

    The study, if you can call it that, appears to be inaccurate.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @30 and your reason is?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @30 and your reason is?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DRit21C – because it doesn’t confirm her beliefs. Or conform to her prejudices.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DRit21C – because it doesn’t confirm her beliefs. Or conform to her prejudices.

  • Grace

    21st Century @31

    Rob made the point @3.

  • Grace

    21st Century @31

    Rob made the point @3.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Well, the study–and the Pew Foundation is a well-respected research agency–shows what others have noted: the shift from religious affiliation being a matter of what you “are” (on the basis of being raised that way and being part of that religious culture) to what you “believe” to what you “choose.” In Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, religion involves becoming part of a tight community (which is why changing your religion tends to be unthinkable to Muslims). We see this to a lesser degree in Catholicism. Lutherans see church as more than just a voluntary affiliation. Baptists have a pretty strong cultural identity. These numbers, I suspect, reflect the extent of this new way of looking at belonging to a church in the different traditions.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Well, the study–and the Pew Foundation is a well-respected research agency–shows what others have noted: the shift from religious affiliation being a matter of what you “are” (on the basis of being raised that way and being part of that religious culture) to what you “believe” to what you “choose.” In Hinduism, Islam and Judaism, religion involves becoming part of a tight community (which is why changing your religion tends to be unthinkable to Muslims). We see this to a lesser degree in Catholicism. Lutherans see church as more than just a voluntary affiliation. Baptists have a pretty strong cultural identity. These numbers, I suspect, reflect the extent of this new way of looking at belonging to a church in the different traditions.

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  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Speaking as one, I’m surprised that the Baptists are as strong in retention as appears to be the case. Maybe our host is right that–perhaps especially in the South–Baptist identification is particularly strong?

    But to that point, it would be interesting to know what portion of this is real faith and which portion is cultural identity. Knowing people of many “faith traditions” who don’t even pretend to follow the precepts of their “faith tradition,” I’d have to wonder if about 10-20% of the retention #s (higher?) are purely cultural.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Speaking as one, I’m surprised that the Baptists are as strong in retention as appears to be the case. Maybe our host is right that–perhaps especially in the South–Baptist identification is particularly strong?

    But to that point, it would be interesting to know what portion of this is real faith and which portion is cultural identity. Knowing people of many “faith traditions” who don’t even pretend to follow the precepts of their “faith tradition,” I’d have to wonder if about 10-20% of the retention #s (higher?) are purely cultural.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    All to often, when asking someone if they are a Christian and what denomination they are afilliated with, (if they say they are Christian, and name a church) they are unable to tell me what being a Christian means. They will answer, “being a good person” – “the sermon on the mount” – they have no core belief. I believe this is the reason the survey is distorted.

    Lots of children are sent to Sunday School, but dreft away as they grow older, especially if their parents never attended church, OR they went to a liberal church that made no sense –

    As for Muslims, some of them understand, most don’t – I was talking to one woman who is Persian, she couldn’t find, what she called her “Holy Book” – I thought that was odd.

    Jews are much different, often sending their children to Saturday classes in preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Many of them do know what they believe.

    Eastern religions are scattered – we have many Asians here. I would say the Indians are more intent on keeping their beliefs.

  • Grace

    Dr. Veith,

    All to often, when asking someone if they are a Christian and what denomination they are afilliated with, (if they say they are Christian, and name a church) they are unable to tell me what being a Christian means. They will answer, “being a good person” – “the sermon on the mount” – they have no core belief. I believe this is the reason the survey is distorted.

    Lots of children are sent to Sunday School, but dreft away as they grow older, especially if their parents never attended church, OR they went to a liberal church that made no sense –

    As for Muslims, some of them understand, most don’t – I was talking to one woman who is Persian, she couldn’t find, what she called her “Holy Book” – I thought that was odd.

    Jews are much different, often sending their children to Saturday classes in preparation for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Many of them do know what they believe.

    Eastern religions are scattered – we have many Asians here. I would say the Indians are more intent on keeping their beliefs.

  • Joanne

    It would seem that the religio-cultural groups have the highest retention rates, what we would call an immigrant church, and what the LCMS was and still is to some extent.

    May we assume that the 24% of Muslim non-retainees are dead?

    Southern Baptists are a religio-cultural group of American origin formed from the War Between the States. As they try to become a national church, even considering new names, the enthusiam for the church wanes among it cultural core group.

    Interestingly, WWI, and WWII made the German brand taboo in America, except in matters of engineering and science. It may be that LCMS is losing German membership as it also tries to take on an All-American persona brand. I think it’s time to polish up and promote the Germaness of LCMS and let people know that German religion is even better than their cars and engineering prowess. Being German is OK now. And the LCMS penchant for copying sectarian worship could be a lingering self-loathing from the bad German time.

    I am glad to see the low retention rate (37%) for the JWs. Four of my 9 aunts were sucked into that along with maybe 15 cousins. Three of the four have gone on to JW whatever, one in her 90s left to go. But, when they reached adulthood, all my JW cousins ran as far and as fast away from it as they could. We love to hear JW horror stories when we go visit with them.

    My parents were Baptist (mother) and Baptist and Methodist (father). Neither liked their churches. Mama wanted to find a new church and Daddy wanted nothing to do whatsoever with any church, had bad experiences in the family over church tug of wars.

    When they found out they were pregnant with their first baby, me, Mama said she did not care what church they attended, but with a child they would most definitatly attend some church, and it was daddy’s choice. So they went church shopping, in the late 40s.

    There was no Lutheran church in Slidell and no one here had ever heard of it. But a Lutheran (German) lady came to work in our store and recommended her church, this unheard of church, but you’d have to drive into New Orleans to attend. It was a very old church and was in the part of New Orleans then often called “Little Saxony.”

    Daddy met Pastor Roppe, attended the services, decided he liked it, and we drove into New Orleans (36 miles on 2 lane roads) for the first 5 yrears of my life. My sister and I were both baptised there. But, Pastor Klapp made circuit rides through Slidell about 4 times a year and gathered up the very few Lutherans and we’d worship in various places, like the community hall or the Presbyterian church.

    My home town is a little odd in being a Southern Swiss Colony. We had lots of people with Germanic names, but they were Swiss Calvinists. They had mostly come from Canton Glarus in the late 19th century and had lived in other placed in the US before settling down in Slidell. The mayor’s name was Fritchie, the wealthy family who build the brick and lumber companies was Salmen and we had Neuhausers, Haas, Staltzfuss, Sollbergers, Schneiders, etc., but not a Lutheran among them.

    But, by 1953, Pastor Klampp had held us together enough that we bought land and built a church and called Paul Hoenk from the St. Louis Seminary. (He confirmed me.) And we grew. Our parish had 3 Lutheran churches in 1953. Today we have 8 Lutheran Churches and Slidell is the capital of the Southern District. No one in 1953 would ever have imagned that.

    In those years the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians parish-wide have actually grown smaller in number. The Slidell Presbyterians may need to sell their church, they are in membership crisis.

    And, just sos you’ll know how modren and up-to-date we are here, the Slidell ELCA church is pastored by a Lesbian couple. They are making waves in the gay community here in town, but some families have been checking out the LCMS churches.

    And, I’m very leary of these ELCA types. You know, if they were fine with female ordination, goddess worship, and Universalism, but have only balked at the gay thing, isn’t that a bit late in the game, haven’t they swallowed a few elephants at this point. So just how much drech do we have to get out of them to make them confessional Lutherans at this point. Are they at all interested in Lutheranism, or are they really looking for a straight-only Universalist church?

  • Joanne

    It would seem that the religio-cultural groups have the highest retention rates, what we would call an immigrant church, and what the LCMS was and still is to some extent.

    May we assume that the 24% of Muslim non-retainees are dead?

    Southern Baptists are a religio-cultural group of American origin formed from the War Between the States. As they try to become a national church, even considering new names, the enthusiam for the church wanes among it cultural core group.

    Interestingly, WWI, and WWII made the German brand taboo in America, except in matters of engineering and science. It may be that LCMS is losing German membership as it also tries to take on an All-American persona brand. I think it’s time to polish up and promote the Germaness of LCMS and let people know that German religion is even better than their cars and engineering prowess. Being German is OK now. And the LCMS penchant for copying sectarian worship could be a lingering self-loathing from the bad German time.

    I am glad to see the low retention rate (37%) for the JWs. Four of my 9 aunts were sucked into that along with maybe 15 cousins. Three of the four have gone on to JW whatever, one in her 90s left to go. But, when they reached adulthood, all my JW cousins ran as far and as fast away from it as they could. We love to hear JW horror stories when we go visit with them.

    My parents were Baptist (mother) and Baptist and Methodist (father). Neither liked their churches. Mama wanted to find a new church and Daddy wanted nothing to do whatsoever with any church, had bad experiences in the family over church tug of wars.

    When they found out they were pregnant with their first baby, me, Mama said she did not care what church they attended, but with a child they would most definitatly attend some church, and it was daddy’s choice. So they went church shopping, in the late 40s.

    There was no Lutheran church in Slidell and no one here had ever heard of it. But a Lutheran (German) lady came to work in our store and recommended her church, this unheard of church, but you’d have to drive into New Orleans to attend. It was a very old church and was in the part of New Orleans then often called “Little Saxony.”

    Daddy met Pastor Roppe, attended the services, decided he liked it, and we drove into New Orleans (36 miles on 2 lane roads) for the first 5 yrears of my life. My sister and I were both baptised there. But, Pastor Klapp made circuit rides through Slidell about 4 times a year and gathered up the very few Lutherans and we’d worship in various places, like the community hall or the Presbyterian church.

    My home town is a little odd in being a Southern Swiss Colony. We had lots of people with Germanic names, but they were Swiss Calvinists. They had mostly come from Canton Glarus in the late 19th century and had lived in other placed in the US before settling down in Slidell. The mayor’s name was Fritchie, the wealthy family who build the brick and lumber companies was Salmen and we had Neuhausers, Haas, Staltzfuss, Sollbergers, Schneiders, etc., but not a Lutheran among them.

    But, by 1953, Pastor Klampp had held us together enough that we bought land and built a church and called Paul Hoenk from the St. Louis Seminary. (He confirmed me.) And we grew. Our parish had 3 Lutheran churches in 1953. Today we have 8 Lutheran Churches and Slidell is the capital of the Southern District. No one in 1953 would ever have imagned that.

    In those years the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians parish-wide have actually grown smaller in number. The Slidell Presbyterians may need to sell their church, they are in membership crisis.

    And, just sos you’ll know how modren and up-to-date we are here, the Slidell ELCA church is pastored by a Lesbian couple. They are making waves in the gay community here in town, but some families have been checking out the LCMS churches.

    And, I’m very leary of these ELCA types. You know, if they were fine with female ordination, goddess worship, and Universalism, but have only balked at the gay thing, isn’t that a bit late in the game, haven’t they swallowed a few elephants at this point. So just how much drech do we have to get out of them to make them confessional Lutherans at this point. Are they at all interested in Lutheranism, or are they really looking for a straight-only Universalist church?

  • Grace

    Joanne @ 37

    YOU WROTE:

    ” It may be that LCMS is losing German membership as it also tries to take on an All-American persona brand. I think it’s time to polish up and promote the Germaness of LCMS and let people know that German religion is even better than their cars and engineering prowess.”

    German religion is even better than their cars and engineering prowess.” ?

    So glad to know how you really believe – I wonder how many more there are, just like you!

    “German” is a religion? It appears it’s not the LORD, but a country who is your religion, and perhaps many others. Very sad, and troubling.

  • Grace

    Joanne @ 37

    YOU WROTE:

    ” It may be that LCMS is losing German membership as it also tries to take on an All-American persona brand. I think it’s time to polish up and promote the Germaness of LCMS and let people know that German religion is even better than their cars and engineering prowess.”

    German religion is even better than their cars and engineering prowess.” ?

    So glad to know how you really believe – I wonder how many more there are, just like you!

    “German” is a religion? It appears it’s not the LORD, but a country who is your religion, and perhaps many others. Very sad, and troubling.

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com Ralph W. Davis

    With no distinction between the conservative/evangelical/biblical/orthodox wings of the mainline Protestant denominations (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Reformed, Congregational) from the liberal/revisionist wings, this data is of limited importance. Its usually easier for a conservative Presbyterian, for example, to become a conservative Lutheran or conservative Anglican, or conservative Baptist (or most likely these days, “non-denominational” independent evangelical) than to move into the liberal wings of their original denomination.

    Conservative Protestants have a lot more in common with each other–across denominational lines, than they do with their liberal co-denominationalists.

    It’s been my experience that a LOT of Protestants move around–without losing their faith.

  • http://analogreigns.blogspot.com Ralph W. Davis

    With no distinction between the conservative/evangelical/biblical/orthodox wings of the mainline Protestant denominations (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Reformed, Congregational) from the liberal/revisionist wings, this data is of limited importance. Its usually easier for a conservative Presbyterian, for example, to become a conservative Lutheran or conservative Anglican, or conservative Baptist (or most likely these days, “non-denominational” independent evangelical) than to move into the liberal wings of their original denomination.

    Conservative Protestants have a lot more in common with each other–across denominational lines, than they do with their liberal co-denominationalists.

    It’s been my experience that a LOT of Protestants move around–without losing their faith.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    @Joanne, 37
    Slidell? My family lives in Covington. Lots of Baptists.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    @Joanne, 37
    Slidell? My family lives in Covington. Lots of Baptists.

  • WebMonk

    Just a note of clarification – the study itself seems just fine. Pew did not create that junk graphic. It was generated by CARA, not Pew.

    Claims that the study is junk, are overblown. The graphic which was cobbled together from the study’s data is very misleading. There is a difference between those two things.

  • WebMonk

    Just a note of clarification – the study itself seems just fine. Pew did not create that junk graphic. It was generated by CARA, not Pew.

    Claims that the study is junk, are overblown. The graphic which was cobbled together from the study’s data is very misleading. There is a difference between those two things.

  • Joanne

    I forgot to mention that the Mormons are an immigrant, religo-cultual group from the planet Kolob.

    About Grace’s umbrage taken at the effect of immigrant or colonial groups that established and formed our churches, if your church wasn’t founded in the United States, it will have foreign roots. And, most churches existed before our country did.

    Example: In New Orleans there was a St. Mary’s Italian church, a St. Mary’ German church, and a St. Mary’ French church. And, I can imagine that in Chicago their was a St. Paul’s Norwegian church, a St. Paul’s Slovak church, and several St. Paul’s German churches (from different parts of Germany). It’s just American history. Irish Catholics did not worship with Czech Catholics, and language was the original main reason.

    What I’m saying is that we may have gone overboard at this point, like the Southern Baptists, in “running away” from our roots in an attempt to nationalize our churches and blend them into the American culture. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but ab ovo the LCMS has not fit into the American religious culture, and never made any special effort to do that, even when English became the standard Language.

    The almost complete take over of our hymnals by Methodist hymns though, is sad. Last Sunday we sang only Methodist hymns. The rampant ignorance of Lutheran hymns, those old 16th, 17th, 18th century hymns, is a travesty. Our Lutheran hymns are written by scholars and professional musicians, always have been. They are not and never were pop camp songs. I thought a major purpose of our Lutheran educational system was to engender an acquired taste, a love, and a deep appreciation for the Lutheran hymns.

    Our hymns teach doctrine, we learn it when we sing it. And, if JS Bach thought they were beautiful enough and meaningful enough to base his sermon contatas on them, then who the heck are we to gainsay Bach? I’d say to any garage band musicisn, that once you master Bach and the Lutheran hymns, then you can make your sectarian noises. (rant over)

    Contentious notion: I maintain that every Lutheran should know at lest 10 of Luther’s hymns by heart, and should be able to sing at least 4 of them in Bach’s 4 part harmony. (Take that John/Charles Wesley.) Lutheran seminarians should be required to take music and voice training classes in seminary (but they already do, don’t they). Lutherans don’t want pastor’s that taste good, we want pastors with good taste.

    Now to go way back in the effect of ethnic differences on the church, and they are eviden before you can get out of the Book of Acts……..

    I maintain that the split between the Eastern church and the Western church began when the Western began to use Latin instead of Greek in the liturgy. And was boosted apart with Jerome’s very popular Latin translation of the Bible, and was made inevitable when St. Gregory developed his special style of chanting in the West that made the two churches no longer even sound alike.

    The constant parade of Eastern heresies usually derived from too much use of human logic and Greek language “sophistication”, also alienated the West and made them distrust the East. They used Latin as a bulwark against the Greek language heresies. Latin means what it means. (It was a dying language that had frozen in it’s form by 400, while Greek was still a vibrant, used everyday language.)

    If your church has no history past the last 100 years, nor any roots outside of America, then none of this applies.

  • Joanne

    I forgot to mention that the Mormons are an immigrant, religo-cultual group from the planet Kolob.

    About Grace’s umbrage taken at the effect of immigrant or colonial groups that established and formed our churches, if your church wasn’t founded in the United States, it will have foreign roots. And, most churches existed before our country did.

    Example: In New Orleans there was a St. Mary’s Italian church, a St. Mary’ German church, and a St. Mary’ French church. And, I can imagine that in Chicago their was a St. Paul’s Norwegian church, a St. Paul’s Slovak church, and several St. Paul’s German churches (from different parts of Germany). It’s just American history. Irish Catholics did not worship with Czech Catholics, and language was the original main reason.

    What I’m saying is that we may have gone overboard at this point, like the Southern Baptists, in “running away” from our roots in an attempt to nationalize our churches and blend them into the American culture. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but ab ovo the LCMS has not fit into the American religious culture, and never made any special effort to do that, even when English became the standard Language.

    The almost complete take over of our hymnals by Methodist hymns though, is sad. Last Sunday we sang only Methodist hymns. The rampant ignorance of Lutheran hymns, those old 16th, 17th, 18th century hymns, is a travesty. Our Lutheran hymns are written by scholars and professional musicians, always have been. They are not and never were pop camp songs. I thought a major purpose of our Lutheran educational system was to engender an acquired taste, a love, and a deep appreciation for the Lutheran hymns.

    Our hymns teach doctrine, we learn it when we sing it. And, if JS Bach thought they were beautiful enough and meaningful enough to base his sermon contatas on them, then who the heck are we to gainsay Bach? I’d say to any garage band musicisn, that once you master Bach and the Lutheran hymns, then you can make your sectarian noises. (rant over)

    Contentious notion: I maintain that every Lutheran should know at lest 10 of Luther’s hymns by heart, and should be able to sing at least 4 of them in Bach’s 4 part harmony. (Take that John/Charles Wesley.) Lutheran seminarians should be required to take music and voice training classes in seminary (but they already do, don’t they). Lutherans don’t want pastor’s that taste good, we want pastors with good taste.

    Now to go way back in the effect of ethnic differences on the church, and they are eviden before you can get out of the Book of Acts……..

    I maintain that the split between the Eastern church and the Western church began when the Western began to use Latin instead of Greek in the liturgy. And was boosted apart with Jerome’s very popular Latin translation of the Bible, and was made inevitable when St. Gregory developed his special style of chanting in the West that made the two churches no longer even sound alike.

    The constant parade of Eastern heresies usually derived from too much use of human logic and Greek language “sophistication”, also alienated the West and made them distrust the East. They used Latin as a bulwark against the Greek language heresies. Latin means what it means. (It was a dying language that had frozen in it’s form by 400, while Greek was still a vibrant, used everyday language.)

    If your church has no history past the last 100 years, nor any roots outside of America, then none of this applies.

  • John C

    Athiests do not have much to worry about Klasie. The Catholic Arcbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, debated Richard Dawkins a couple of months ago. George reckons athiests are able to go to heaven and George would know. He has been touted as a candidate for CEO in the Vatican Primaries.

  • John C

    Athiests do not have much to worry about Klasie. The Catholic Arcbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, debated Richard Dawkins a couple of months ago. George reckons athiests are able to go to heaven and George would know. He has been touted as a candidate for CEO in the Vatican Primaries.

  • Stephen

    Joanne -

    Wow!!! That post gave me joy!

  • Stephen

    Joanne -

    Wow!!! That post gave me joy!

  • fws

    Joanne @ 42

    Wow. You are the gift that just keeps on giving gal!
    That was absolutely awesome!

  • fws

    Joanne @ 42

    Wow. You are the gift that just keeps on giving gal!
    That was absolutely awesome!

  • Doug

    Here is the real question to ask. How many children who had FAITHFUL parents who adhere to their faith wholeheartedly, making their children attend church regularly and live it at home, have their children continue FAITHFULLY in their church? Many CALL themselves adherents to a certain faith just because at one time in their life they attended a church service or their family traditionally has been it for years, as previously mentioned by many. How many REALLY stick? How many are drawn away by worldly cares? I think the retention rate will be a lot lower than you think!

  • Doug

    Here is the real question to ask. How many children who had FAITHFUL parents who adhere to their faith wholeheartedly, making their children attend church regularly and live it at home, have their children continue FAITHFULLY in their church? Many CALL themselves adherents to a certain faith just because at one time in their life they attended a church service or their family traditionally has been it for years, as previously mentioned by many. How many REALLY stick? How many are drawn away by worldly cares? I think the retention rate will be a lot lower than you think!

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