ELCA Trends: Nearly 30 percent of ELCA churches average less than 50 people for Sunday services. Average worship attendance dropped 26 percent between 2003 and 2011. More than 1,000 ELCA churches have closed during the past 10 years, some merging with other congregations and some just shutting down.
The plight of the Lutherans is not unfamiliar to Protestant denominations. In 2012, less than half of Americans identified themselves as Protestants, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
“Nearly every U.S. Christian denomination has seen membership declines in the past two years, including Southern Baptists, who seemed invincible in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s,” Radziszewski writes.
The Lutherans have tried to reverse the trend with Congregational Renewal Partnership grants, which provided 163 congregations with $2.5 million in 2011. The grants are for three years, but renewal often takes five to seven years, said Neil Harrison, director for Renewed Evangelizing Congregations.
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What do you think will happen to the ELCA. Can they turn it around?
ELCA (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is in trouble… in fact, trends show number of churches is down significantly over the past ten years, and the number of people attending services is down significantly as well. From the Orlando Sentinel: The Lutheran magazine’s January cover story is about the decline in membership and churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.