Survey: Protestant majority disappearing in the USA
Between 1993 and 2002, the share of Americans who said they were Protestant dropped from 63% to 52%, after years of remaining generally stable, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
Protestant churches struggle to fill pulpits
Protestant leaders in the past five years have been anxiously discussing shortages in their own ranks.
Reasons for shortages
Protestant church officials cite many factors for why people choose not to go into ministry, including more interest in high-paying professions, the cost of attending seminary, a failure by churches to recruit and a growing secular mindset in society.
Seminaries that once attracted “the best and the brightest” now “take almost all who apply, whether or not they show high promise for ministry,” wrote Barbara Wheeler, president of Auburn Theological Seminary, which surveyed seminaries in 1998.
In many seminaries, the admission requirement became that “you had to have in range of a 98.6 temperature,” said R. Robert Cueni, president of Lexington Theological Seminary.
The 1,200 or so megachurches (defined as churches where 2,000 or more people attend weekend worship) are only one-half of 1% of all U.S. churches and account for only 5% of all weekend worship attenders," Thumma says.
"And my sense, after years of examining megachurches, is that 80% of the people who join, including those who go through new member classes, are gone within the first two years."