While working on an unrelated research project, I recently came across some data published by the Hartford Institute of Religion Research. Though the information was five years old, it still seemed highly relevant today.
In essence, the data showed that non-denominational churches are now the second-largest Protestant group in America. Only the Southern Baptist Convention is larger.
Here are some of the fascinating nuggets from that study:
- There are more than 12 million people who affiliate with non-denominational churches.
- The research found at least 35,000 non-denominational churches in America.
- Non-denominational churches are in 88 percent of the counties in the United States.
- Non-denominational churches are one of the top five largest religious groups in 48 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
In light of the growth of these churches, I conducted an informal Twitter poll and asked why people are moving to non-denominational congregations from churches affiliated with denominations. Here are the top eight responses in order. There is obvious overlap in some of the responses.
- Denominational churches have a negative reputation. Some respondents used the phrase "negative brand" to communicate this reason.
- Denominations are known more for what they are against than what they are for.
- There is too much infighting and politics in denominations.
- The denominational churches are too liberal. From what I can tell from these respondents, they are current and former members of mainline churches.
- There is a general waning of institutional loyalty in institutions such as denominations.
- Denominations have inefficient systems and organizations. They are too bureaucratic.
- Some of the respondents could see no perceived benefit to belonging to denominations.
- Denominations are not good stewards of their financial resources.
I plan on doing a second poll in the near future to see how respondents view denominations positively. In the meantime, let me hear from you.
Thom Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.