Bucking the trend of denominational decline, Assemblies of God churches continue to grow in membership, according to the latest report.
For an astounding 19th year in a row, the number of people who consider themselves Assemblies of God (AG) adherents increased—this year to more than 2.8 followers, marking a 1.3 percent rise. The news comes on the heels of a recent nationwide study that found most mainline groups—including Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans—in decline.
"The increase by more than 1 percent is significant," said statistician Sherri Doty, who contributed to the denomination's Annual Church Ministries Report. "The U.S. population grows by about 1 percent a year, [so] this is an indication that we are growing faster than the population. And in light of the steady declines in attendance by other religious organizations over the past years, this is encouraging news."
Weekly church attendance among AG churches grew by 1.6 percent, while baptisms grew 0.5 percent. The report also indicated, however, that fewer non-Christians were committing their lives to Christ at an AG church.
"We are grateful for another year of growth as we continue to focus on prayer, church planting and revitalization, pastoral leadership training and enhanced local ministry resources," states General Secretary James Bradford. "Some of our hardest work is yet ahead of us, but we are encouraged and aiming at accelerated growth in the future." [AG News, 6/17/09]
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