Is the evangelical/conservative church in America growing, declining, or holding its own?

According to an article in Chrsitianity Today, both Glenn Stanton’s The Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity is Actually Thriving in America and the World and Rick Richardson’s You Found Me: New Research on How Unchurched Nones, Millennials, and Irreligious are Surprisingly Open to Christian Faith document how the evangelical church is growing or at least holding its own in the U.S.

John Dickerson, in The Great Evangelical Recession says the opposite, that people -- especially young adults and single moms -- are ditching the church in droves.

Or is Dickerson's book (2013) dated, and these newer books showing how things are now as opposed to 2013?

Everyone agrees that mainline Protestantism is a sinking ship, and the rate of its sinking is speeding up.

So what is happening -- really?   How do you see it?


The evangelical church is the U.S. is growing and has been all along.
0% (0 votes)
The evangelical church was declining (2013), but is now in an upswing.
0% (0 votes)
The evangelical church is pretty much holding its own, plus or minus a little.
15% (3 votes)
The evangelical church is declining.
40% (8 votes)
Nobody knows -- it is all guesswork.
30% (6 votes)
15% (3 votes)
Total votes: 20
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There are 2 Comments

Joel Shaffer's picture

It depends on what part of evangelicalism you're talking about.  There are certain areas and people groups of the evangelical church that are experiencing some growth in America, especially among minority groups (even among younger 20's and 30 somethings), but overall, its more maintaining and some decline.  

Aaron Blumer's picture


It's a good question... but I don't really have a confident answer. There are fewer Americans claiming to belong to any particular religion, much less any particular denomination. But this isn't true worldwide. It's also statistically possible to have an increase in "nones" while also having an increase in various flavors of evangelical. This would be the case if the new nones are coming from mainline denominations (which are not evangelical).

Richardson's claims about openness are really a different topic, because open isn't the same as participating or believing. He has some encouraging things to say.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.