American churches closing faster than new ones can open

Churches are closing at a record pace in the U.S. as less than 50% of Americans are saying they are members of a church. “Sometimes you got to ask yourself the question, ‘Are we doing the good Lord’s work by just keeping the doors open?’” said Paul Coston, who was the minister of the Ragsdale Church of Christ in Tennessee before it closed earlier this year, according to WTVR. Coston’s church is one of many across the country that have closed in recent years, with fewer and fewer Americans opting for membership.

Small-town churches have been particularly hard hit by the trend, having previously served as the cultural center of small communities that have since declined or been consolidated into larger metropolitan areas in recent years. “Church membership trends mirror white population trends in the United States,” said Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, a professor at Denver’s Iliff School of Theology. “You had 100 children in Sunday school. You had adults whose not only religious lives but professional and civic lives were related to the church itself.”

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