Pentecostalism Still Burns

While membership in the nation's largest Christian communions declined last year, two Pentecostal denominations showed an increase.

The Assemblies of God (AG) of Springfield, Missouri, and the Cleveland, Tennessee-based Church of God were the only two denominations of traditional Christian orthodoxy among the 25 largest churches in the U.S. to report membership increases, according to the 2009 edition of the Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, an annual chronicle of religious institutions edited by the National Council of Churches (NCC) and published by Abingdon.

The AG listed nearly 2.9 million members while the Church of God reported 1 million.

The ecumenical NCC reported the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses as the only other church groups to show membership increases, even though most Pentecostals, and many mainline churches and orthodox Christians, would consider those two groups separate religions.

A slight membership decline among Catholic and Southern Baptist churches, according to the yearbook, raised eyebrows because both denominations have typically grown over the years. "Now they join virtually every mainline church in reporting a membership decline," stated an NCC release.

In the bigger picture, the yearbook reported the small less-than-one-percent drop in membership in each denomination was not "earth-shattering" because there are still more than 67 million Roman Catholics in the U.S. and 16 million Southern Baptists.

Churches listed in the NCC yearbook as experiencing the highest rate of membership loss are the United Church of Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The Rev. Eileen W. Lindner, the yearbook's editor, said there are no clear-cut theological or sociological reasons for church growth or decline. "Many churches are feeling the impact of the lifestyles of younger generations of church-goers," Lindner said, "the Gen X'ers or Millenials in their 20s and 30s who attend and support local congregations but resist joining them."


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective