The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Membership steady, income up

Membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America remained steady in 1998, says ELCA Secretary Lowell G. Almen.

Membership in 1998

* Current baptized membership is 5,178,225, down 6,830.

* About 1.6 million (30 percent) of the baptized members worship each week, which has remained fairly consistent since 1988.

* Child baptisms decreased by 876 to 81,224, but adult baptisms increased by 219 to 8,468.

* The number of congregations dropped by 27 to 10,862, largely as a result of consolidation.

* The average congregation has:

480 baptized members.

356 confirmed members.

236 communing, contributing members.

* The number of members of color rose across every ethnic community to 2.3 percent of ELCA membership.

Income in 1998

* Total income for congregations exceeded $2 billion for the second year in a row, up 6 percent.

* $1.5 billion was received in regular offerings, up nearly 5 percent.

* Giving to world hunger and disaster efforts totaled nearly $12.5 million.

* The average congregation spent its income:

66 percent for operating expenses.

11 percent on capital improvements.

8 percent for debt retirement.

8 percent to fund synodical and churchwide ministries.

* Average annual giving per confirmed member was $448.


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February issue


Embracing diversity