What’s ahead for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)?
“We need to recalibrate as a church,” the denomination’s stated clerk, Gradye Parsons, told participants in a Big Tent workshop August 1 in Knoxville.
“We can’t just do church better,” said David Loleng, the PC(USA)’s associate for evangelism. “We need to do church in a different way.”
To make his point, Parsons rolled out the numbers.
Here are some of the trends:
- Declining PC(USA) membership since the 1960s.
- Increasing numbers of young Americans with no religious affiliation. Most of the “nones” say they’re not looking for religion.
- The PC(USA) remains about 92 percent white – in a country that’s becoming increasingly diverse and will before long be majority non-white. If that doesn’t change, “we’re going to be a boutique church,” Parsons said.
- Congregations report that they serve, on average, 815 people who are not members of that church. Parsons called that “my new favorite number.”