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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Downside of worship

Average worship attendance plummets here's a glimpse why

If you turn your magazine (or computer) upside down, the adjoining chart looks like good news. But it’s not good news—unless you’re peddling Sunday morning favorites like pancakes or Meet the Press.

bogus captionSince 2002 average worship attendance at ELCA congregations has taken an Olympic-size dive. In 2001 average attendance was up slightly. But it took a downward turn the following year, and figures compiled by ELCA Research and Evaluation last fall say average attendance is down 45,000 (from 144 per congregation to 131).

The figures aren’t much different from those of other mainline denominations, said Kenneth Inskeep, executive for Research and Evaluation. And they’re a sign of weak ties to the church and a church that’s not evangelizing. Many nonattenders are young adults or retirees whose attendance lapsed after their children were confirmed, he said.


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