September 4th, 2004

Interesting Statistics

These are some statistics culled from a recent hand out from the Alabama District for the Assemblies of God. I wish they had cited the studies they were quoting but except for citing Charles Hacket for the first statistic none of the others were footnoted.

Pentecostal Churches

In the last 10 years membership in Pentecostal churches has decined 9% while the US population has increased 11%
85% of pentecostal churches in the US are experiencing a plataeu or have decined in attendance

Alabama Assembly of God

Alabama AG churches decreased by 46 people in Sunday AM attendance last year
Alabama AG churches have gained only 24 people over the last 5 years

Church in general

In 1900 there were 27 churches for every 10,000 US citizens, today there are 11
310 churches close every month in America
1 in 4 denominational church members actually attend their church services on average

Pastors and Clergy

1200 pastors in America leave the ministry monthly
80% of ministers that graduate from ministry training or Bible college leave the ministry within 5 years
50% who graduate from seminary leave within 10 years
65% of clergy in America divorce
16% of those who start in the ministry finish well
71% of clergy have signifigant financial problems

The figures that I find interesting are the ones that deal with church attendance in Pentecostal churches and the Alabama AG figures. It is my contention that the Pentecostal movement that started with hungry Bible college students in Kansas a little over 100 years ago has ground to a halt.

We have let TV Evangelists become our theologeons robbing us of our traditional Bible based faith. Now faith is no longer about pleasing God but about pleasing me. They preach a thinly veiled covetousness and they call that faith.

They've taken what was once the answer from heaven for a group of hungry souls seeking the experience and the power of the early church, and they have packaged it in slick one hour segments that can be mass marketed for high profit.

If we want the power that the early church had we need to learn to wait on God the way the disciples waited in the upper room. We need to learn to wait the way those college students at Bethel College in Topeka, Kansas waited around the turn of the century.

We cannot pretend that God is here and already moving in power when we haven't tasted the real thing in years. We need to lay everything aside and seek him, having the integrity to refuse to move until he moves. Not until we hear him, but until he moves.