20 June, 2024

2022 Church Stats and Charts


by | 1 May, 2023 | 4 comments

This year, in the charts in the attached pdf (linked below), we have included both average weekly in-person and online attendance numbers in separate columns. However, we use both these numbers added together (in-person + online) to determine a church’s size category and how they are sorted within each category. . . .



  1. Scott Jacobsen

    I was wondering if there are any statistics for the number of churches that have closed permanently during this time. It’s a sad statistic, but an important one.

  2. Bruce Webster

    Kent E. Fillinger’s data is, I expect, good on the churches for which he collected data. However there are two problems with his data. The first problem is that he only collected data (received responses) from about 8 percent of the independent Christian churches in our brotherhood. In PhD-level classes in social science research at Michigan State I learned that people responding to a survey are different from those who do not respond. We have no idea how different. In reality, Kent’s data tells us nothing about the 90+ percent of the churches that did not respond.

    The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARS) researchers are the ones who every decade publish a county-by-county report on religious “congregations” in America. The ASARS data, probably the best available for our brotherhood, shows over the past two decades (2000 to 2020) a decline of 12.5 percent in the number of churches and a 4.2 percent decline in membership.

    A big reason for the decline of our brotherhood and the Western church overall has been leaders unintentionally trained to focus on the wrong goal, to lead 19th century, not 1st century churches. We have focused on having a large weekly gathering (40 or usually more) for “worship” and a sermon. In Acts and the epistles there is no command or record of the kind of “worship” we have in our churches. There is also no command or record of a sermon (monologue) to believers. (When Paul was in Troas the Greek indicates he had a dialogue with the disciples.) Paul in 1 Corinthians 14, beginning at about verse 24, tells us what should happen when the church comes together. What he said can’t be done in a group of more than about 20. Jesus worked primarily with 12 and 3 who were part of the 12.

    Where Christianity is growing rapidly, they rapidly multiply small groups using facilitators using very simple tools like Discovery Bible Studies. We need to humbly learn from leaders of these movements. The recent Discipleship Forum (discipleship.org) featured some top disciple multipliers from around the world. I plan to soon have a website up that will include resources and links including free training.

  3. Bruce Webster

    Someone has said, “Your (our) system is designed to get the results you (we) are getting.” Our system is perfectly designed (by Satan?) to result in slow decline.

  4. Matthew Vermillion

    This is response to Bruce Webster’s comments. I believe that the real reason for the decline in our brotherhood and the Western church isn’t how we do our services. The real issue is that our Pastors in the pulpit and leadership in our churches are avoiding of preaching Truth! We have got to stand on Scriptural truths and not abandon them.

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