Black Churches Buck Trends

Christine A. Scheller, Urban Faith, September 20, 2011

Racial and Ethnic Congregations Grow

Racial and ethnic congregations are bucking a trend toward decreasing vitality in American congregations, according to a new study published by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. The study, “A Decade of Change in American Congregations: 2000-2010,” was presented along with the latest Baylor Religion Survey at the Religion Newswriters Assocation annual conference in Durham, North Carolina, last weekend.

Congregations with 50 percent or more minority participants grew from about one-fourth of all U.S. congregations in 2000 to nearly one-third in 2010, the study revealed, but overall, there was a steep decline in the financial health of American congregations, as well as continuing high levels of conflict, aging memberships, and declining numbers.

Injecting Vitality into American Religious Life

The contrast between the growth of racial/ethnic congregations and the weakening of others was presented in light of census projections that show people of color becoming a majority of the U.S. population by 2050 and the number of non-white children born in the United States exceeding 50 percent by 2023.

Non-white Americans are, “by and large,” creating their own congregations rather than participating in historically White ones, the report said. Nonetheless, racial/ethnic congregations are injecting a “strong dose of growth and vitality into America’s religious life.”

These congregations are disproportionately Evangelical Protestant or non-Christian, urban and Southern. Their worship is more likely to be contemporary and innovative, which is significant because the study found that innovative, contemporary worship correlates with high spiritual vitality and numerical growth.

Racial/ethnic congregations are more likely to hold to a theology that is moderate or liberal than majority White congregations, but their use of technology tends to be modest to marginal. On average, they count less college graduates amongst their numbers, but they benefit from retention of their young adults.

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  • Anonymous

    Did you guard White Humanity’s White Privilege today?

    White Episcopalians will begin putting and even higher Diveristy premium on blacks in the pews. Without blacks, White Privilege runs amok and we might forget about all the “sacrifices” we must make to keep the blacks happy and sining.

    http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/race/the_church_repentance_and_raci.html

    It seems rather clear that white churches will stay white and black churches will stay black until there is a recommitment to the task of adhering to God’s will for reconciliation. It will call for some sacrifices and they generally need to be made by whites who benefit the most from the privilege of the system and who need to express their willingness to take the first steps to show that they understand the new agreement and its call to reconciliation.

  • Anonymous

    1 — Anonymous wrote at 7:00 PM on September 21:

    Did you guard White Humanity’s White Privilege today?

    White Episcopalians will begin putting and even higher Diveristy premium on blacks in the pews. Without blacks, White Privilege runs amok and we might forget about all the “sacrifices” we must make to keep the blacks happy and sining.

    http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/race/the_church_repentance_and_raci.html

    It seems rather clear that white churches will stay white and black churches will stay black until there is a recommitment to the task of adhering to God’s will for reconciliation. It will call for some sacrifices and they generally need to be made by whites who benefit the most from the privilege of the system and who need to express their willingness to take the first steps to show that they understand the new agreement and its call to reconciliation.

    ———————————————————

    How utterly stupid can those people be?

    Reconciliation with nonwhites? Where, oh where, does it say that is God’s will? It is just the opposite of God’s will! No wonder their brand of Christianity is on it’s way out. That goes for all these “churches” of today as they preach the same thing.

  • Deirdre

    This white is not making any more sacrifices (other than the chunk of my paycheck that already goes toward things I abhor, against my will) or apologies to blacks or any other non-white. I have nothing to apologize for.

  • je suis paganisme

    Who needs this garbage?

    All these calls for “reconciliation”, “social justice”, etc. in White congregations just get in the way of a good walk in the woods on a Sunday morning.

    Dog is my co-pilot, Art is my counselor, and the Bible is largely myth–both Old and New Testaments.

  • Crystal Evans

    Many nonwhite congregations also tend to believe in prosperity theology, where any blessings they would get from God is dependent on how much they gave to God. This is also mixed with a Pentecostal worship style, which appeals to their emotions.

  • madison grant

    So nonwhites are starting new churches rather than join majority white ones. Umm, isn’t this called… segregation?

    I’m sure the NAACP, $PLC, ADL, La Raza and the rest of the Racism Industry will condemn them and threaten them with lawsuits.

    That’ll happen sometime after the Cubs win the World Series.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read the Bible a time or three… dozen and God’s pretty clear about no cross breeding. This idea of “reconciliation” is driven by leftist ideals and not God’s word.

  • olewhitelady

    There’s nothing new about blacks liking black churches. But the contention that these churches are more moderate or liberal than white ones–if true–is news to me. All the blacks I’ve ever known held very conservative religious views, even if their behavior was anything but.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing. If whites separated from majority black churches to start their own white congregations, they’d be called bigots and racists, but when blacks do it, they’re “injecting a strong dose of growth and vitality into America’s religious life.”

  • Anonymous

    2 — olewhitelady wrote at 7:39 AM on September 22:

    There’s nothing new about blacks liking black churches. But the contention that these churches are more moderate or liberal than white ones—if true—is news to me. All the blacks I’ve ever known held very conservative religious views, even if their behavior was anything but.

    —————————————————

    Your last sentence is a bit contradictory. Blacks ACT like they hold conservative views in their churches and the reason their behavior doesn’t match just shows that they love play acting.

    They love their churches because they “think” all their whooping and hollering shows how “spiritual” they are. They also love to fool White people. They can get up and speak about Jesus and all that jazz and make you believe they truly are christians, yet their words mean nothing when you see them AFTER church is over.

  • Boondoggler

    This is no big news. Even whites are starting their own churches rather than go to traditional denominational churches. A lot of reasons why, but the main one is the established churches no longer preach anything but diversity. Many of us Christians would rather hear sermons delivered about the truth of the Bible, rather than the untruth of political correctness.

  • Anonymous

    “Amazing. If whites separated from majority black churches to start their own white congregations, they’d be called bigots and racists, but when blacks do it, they’re “injecting a strong dose of growth and vitality into America’s religious life.”

    So, would you rather that they attended white churches?

  • Anonymous

    When blacks go to Church, it’s a big party or social event. When we go to Church, it’s to hear the Word of the Lord, and give HIM thanks and praise.

    Blacks love to scream, shout, dance, play riotous music, jump around, all while being dressed to the nines, but they never get around to doing what the Bible teaches on the other six days.

    Now if we can only convince them, with this new trend, to go back to Africa, and build their own Nations.

  • Sureesh

    I am proud to be an atheist. Christianity and the bible and a bunch of fairy tales. No need for church, black, white or whatever race. I am technically Hindu but don’t believe in Hindu gods either. Religion is nothing but fiction. Science and math disprove all these religious myths.