Skip to comments.ELCA Reports Biggest-Ever Drop in Membership
Posted on 08/10/2010 10:07:25 PM PDT by SmithL
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America witnessed its biggest-ever drop in membership last year, according to a recently released analysis.
By the end of 2009, ELCA membership stood at 4.5 million 90 thousand less than the year before, reported the ELCA Office of the Secretary and ELCA Research and Evaluation. Before the latest drop, the biggest loss was 79 thousand a drop witnessed in 2005.
The ELCA congregation count, meanwhile, was recorded as 10,348 48 less than the year before. The largest-ever drop in the congregation count was recorded in 2004 a drop of 72.
Despite the losses, the reported total assets of ELCA congregations was found to have grown in 2009 by 1.2 percent to $20.9 billion.
And average giving per baptized member grew 2.8 percent in 2009 to $492, reported ELCA secretary David D. Swartling.
"During these challenging times, ELCA members have continued to be remarkably steadfast in their giving," remarked Swartling to ELCAs official news service.
"[A]nd many ELCA congregations remain surprisingly healthy from an economic perspective," he added.
Also included in ELCAs report was the average number of people in worship in ELCA congregations, which declined slightly from the previous year.
A total of 1,289,967 people, or 28.39 percent of baptized ELCA members, attended weekly worship in 2009. In the previous year, 1,330,709, or 28.71 percent of baptized members, attended weekly worship.
Like other mainline denominations, ELCA has witnessed a steady decline in membership. In 1987, the denomination reported a membership of 5.3 million and more than 11,000 congregations.
Despite the losses, ELCA remains the largest Lutheran church body in the United States. The next largest, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, reports a membership of 2.5 million.
And the exodus continues.
I note that they had 48 fewer congregations at the end of 2009. That was just barely 90 days (the minimum number of days between votes) after the CWA 2009. Since then, a lot more congregations have left, and even more have cut off funding for the ELCA.
Yeah, we left too, but there are still a lot of people that I care about still in the ELCA.
“And average giving per baptized member grew 2.8 percent in 2009 to $492”
$492???? That’s really pathetic.
Was this the bunch that is supporting Homosexual priests and marriages. If it is the exodus numbers should be much higher.
Kids are babtized, so I hope they are included in that average. But, probably only an average of 1 child to every two adults (lots of older folks without children), so still. That $492 sure seems REAL low.
Years ago I would help out an older couple. Then sit around and chat for awhile. I recall looking down my nose at the old gal when she told the story about how her pastor asked for an additional donation for something, and she exlaimed to me “We already give $5 a week!”
But she was a talker, and went on to relate where the rest of her $600/month S.S. check went to (I don’t recall the actual amount, but it was low). After she got done running through the numbers I felt like a jerk - and wondered how she could even afford the $5! (The widow’s mite story came to mind).
On the other hand, I have heard stories about the well-off. One was from a friend on the stewardship committee where he was talking to an orthodontist in the church. When he brought up the subject of “tithing”, and considered by our church to be 10%, the orthodntist replied “Ten percent! Do you have any idea how much money that would be!!??” Of course no one is required to pledge 10% - but it is mentioned and taught.
This from a denomination prides itself on being "inclusive."
Yes, and as the homosexual behavior and presence continues to expand, the number of kids, baptized or not, will continue to decline.
Just as well, the denom has abandoned Scripture.
This is so sad. I hate for any churches to lose membership. What’s the feeling of parishioners?
I’ve been following whats going on with my Evangelical friends back in MN.
Most are seeing the liberalization of the church for what it is, trying to get more people in to pay the bills.
The friends I know are going back to the beginning with home bible meetings similar to ACTS mixed with social media.
From what I hear, it is working out very well.
Yep. The first homosexual pastors were added to the ELCA clergy roster last month.
There was only one reporting quarter in this report after the church voted to allow homosexual clergy. Most churches needed more than 90 days to get their votes together. This current number will be a drop in the bucket when the 2010 report comes out. What the report also won’t tell you is how many just silently left. Those will not show up for a year or so and will be permanently placed on “inactive” status.
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
"The decision by the ELCA's 2009 Churchwide Assembly to sanction the homosexual lifestyle by allowing practicing homosexuals to serve as pastors of its churches was only the first installment of many other changes in store for those within the church body.
"On Sunday July 25, the ELCA conducted a worship service in San Francisco, at which seven avowed and practicing homosexuals were welcomed to the ranks of ELCA clergy. Here you will find the bulletin (contents) of that service, as well as a copy of the sermon delivered for the occasion. Both items speak for themselves."
I’m sorry, but the exodus from the ELCA to tradition, Christian lutheran groups like the LCMS etc. is not fast enough. The ELCA has betrayed Christianity as a whole and is not deserving of the titles Evangelical or Lutheran or Church. The believers there should leave for a true Christian Lutheran group pronto.
David Barnhart writes, "According to the most recent ELCA report (as of July 31), 348 congregations have successfully voted to withdraw through their first and/or second votes. We are still missing approximately 50 congregations on our list. If you know of additions or corrections to this list, please inform us at email@example.com. A growing list of congregations have scheduled votes in the coming weeks. Many are waiting for the CORE gathering in Columbus, Ohio later this month when the North America Lutheran Church will be established."
Multiplied thousands more have left from churches that won't vote to leave or did not summon a 2/3 majority in their vote(s) to exit the ELCA.
But, wait, are other Christian denominations GROWING as the “mainline” Protestant sects fail, or are they just leaving period.
Is there a corresponding increase in Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical churches?
Good job. Next, to sue the ELCA for using the terms E, L and C :)
The E and the L have to go, but if the Unitarians can call themselves a church, their spiritually kooky kin can do likewise.