Where Christianity is growing the fastest

The world’s fastest growing church is that of IRAN.

Despite–or maybe because of–horrific persecution, the number of Christians in Iran has shot up from around 500 in 1979 to hundreds of thousands, maybe over a million, today.  More people have become Christians in the last 20 years than have done so in the 13 centuries of Islamic domination combined.

In second place: AFGHANISTAN.

So reports Mark Howard and his sources, excerpted and linked after the jump.

All of which is instructive for us depressed and discouraged American Christians.  If God can build His church in lands of such anti-Christian hostiity as Iran and Afghanistan, He can build it here.  And if those Christians can live out their faith in the face of such powerful cultural opposition and government-sponsored persecution, with our far smaller problems, we can too.

[Read more…]

Unintended consequences of megachurches

The larger the group, the less the individual involvement.  That’s a long-established finding of social science.  So what does that mean for very large churches?  New research has shown that those who attend megachurches are less involved in their congregation than those who attend smaller churches.  That may be obvious, but the researcher then raises a disturbing question:  Has the rise of the megachurch thus contributed to the overall decline of religion in the United States?

I am not attacking big churches.  It’s natural for a congregation to want to become as big as possible, and many large congregations are quite orthodox.  But churches need to face up to this data.  Are there other unintended consequences of megachurches?  Is there a way to counter them?  How might a big congregation increase individual involvement?  Or should big churches split into smaller congregations, once they reach a particular size?

[Read more…]

Liturgy as a key to church growth?

More on young adults rejecting the church growth approach to worship and craving liturgy.   I don’t mean to harp on this topic, so tomorrow I’ll post something that questions this new traditionalism in worship, which is not always accompanied by traditionalism in theology. [Read more…]

Who the unchurched really are

Most evangelism programs, church growth tactics, and other attempts to reach the “unchurched” concentrate on Millennials, young urbanites, college types, and the suburban middle class.  But, as Robert Putnam reminds us, the demographic that is the most unchurched is the working class, the lower income non-college-educated folks.  A big segment of these blue-collar workers has just stopped going to church.  They are also, with the personal and family problems that Putnam documents, arguably, most in need of ministry.  This is ironic, since the working class used to be the biggest supporters of conservative Christianity.  And yet, I’m unaware of any concerted effort to reach them, other than individual pastors in these communities doing what they can. [Read more…]

Church competition

More from Methodist minister Morgan Guyton’s post entitled “Six Ways that Capitalism Fails the Church.”  He discusses competition between churches, the way churches “with bling” take members away from churches “without bling.” [Read more…]

The Millennials’ longing for liturgy & sacraments

Congregations that want to attract the millennial generation are now being told to ditch their contemporary worship services and to bring back the historic liturgy.   Also, it turns out that young adults today have a “sacramental yearning.”  Church growth enthusiasts, take note. [Read more…]


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