The Shrinking Mainline Protestant Churches
Here is a chart of the 10 largest protestant denominations, the Catholics and the unaffiliated. It is sorted by the % of their members 50 and older in descending order. As you can see the mainline protestants are a very old group, the evangelicals are younger, etc. This is significant.
|18 to 29||30 to 49||50 to 64||65 up||40s and younger||Over 50||% of Pop|
|Assemblies of God||14||41||33||12||55||45||1.4|
|Church of Christ||22||32||24||22||54||46||1.5|
|National Baptist Church||14||35||29||21||49||50||1.8|
The reason that most faith groups are spending so much energy on “Youth Ministry” is because they are overall in decline. They are in decline because they stopped having children enough to replace the ones that are dying off. With one exception the protestant groups in this chart are almost all whites. The white demographic has been reproducing well below replacement levels for a long time now. What this means is that even as they all ratchet up their effort to recruit and/or retain youth they are all battling among themselves for an ever shrinking pool of youth.
Looking at the mainline churches ( Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian ) in the above we see that they are all very old. Their reproduction rates are still below replacement, which means their decline will continue. Once you get the 4th largest protestant denomination you are in the 1% of the US population range. While “Protestant” is still 51% of the US population its splintered into an infinite number of groups.
Unaffiliated is a very young group. The rise of this group is, in my opinion, directly related to two things. The first is the removal of any trace of God from school and the indoctrination that has taken root in the last few decades. The results are predictable. The second of course is the constant drumbeat from entertainment. Together its a formidable obstacle. If/when the lock on education is broken and religion returns, via any number of methods, these unaffiliated numbers will drop.