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Mainline Decline

Which Religion Is Dying in America?

Charles Redfern | Posted 06.04.2015 | Religion
Charles Redfern

Partisans in America's scuffle over religion are either celebrating or panicking, with the fans of Richard Dawkins blowing party horns while clergymen bite their nails. It seems our nation's faith is drowning in a sea of "nones." I admit it. The math initially looks grim.

Why Liberal Protestantism Should Quit Living in Fear of Its Own Death

Derek Penwell | Posted 03.07.2015 | Religion
Derek Penwell

Are we too liberal? Do we have enough arbitrary rules to halt the decline and sustain a stable membership? These are questions that should be qualified by being asked in light of the most important question: Are we following Jesus faithfully?

A Pastoral Letter to Older Generations About Those Frustrating Millennials

Derek Penwell | Posted 12.23.2014 | Religion
Derek Penwell

The question that older generations of leaders within mainline denominations must ask themselves, I suggested, therefore, is: "What if the kids don't want our church?" This is an an important issue in the age of the "nones."

Does Declining Membership Mean God Thinks You Suck?

Derek Penwell | Posted 11.09.2014 | Religion
Derek Penwell

The goal of following Jesus has never been the kind of growth that satisfies the ecclesiastical bean counters anyway; it's about doing what you believe -- were he to find himself in the same position -- Jesus might do.

7 Reasons Not to Freak Out About Protestant Mainline Decline

Derek Penwell | Posted 10.14.2014 | Religion
Derek Penwell

Year-over-year, our loss of Total and Participating Membership sits close to 20 percent, but that our Average Worship Attendance is only a little over 4 percent. That is a shocking loss to absorb in a single year.

Prophets in Stolen Bowling Shoes

Derek Penwell | Posted 06.15.2014 | Religion
Derek Penwell

The world groans with the voice of those who've been too easily ignored -- they are poor, uninsured, immigrants, women, children, gay. Those who follow Jesus -- that creative band of radicals and troublemakers -- we have to find our voice to speak up for them.

The Problem With Assuming That It's the Millennials' Fault for Abandoning Religion

Derek Penwell | Posted 06.04.2014 | Religion
Derek Penwell

I find the belligerent blame-thrower much too regularly in the church. Something goes wrong and this person's default posture is "it's not me; it's you."

What If the Church Took Millennials Seriously?

Derek Penwell | Posted 02.10.2014 | Religion
Derek Penwell

If mainline denominations have taken a nosedive in membership, money, and influence (which they have), and if you want a chance to figure out why (which I do), it seems like a good thing to start looking at the age demographic where the losses have been heaviest.