U.S. church closures outpace openings

While the decline in new churches was expected, church planting experts were still surprised by the results of a recent Lifeway Research survey.

In 2019, approximately 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the U.S., but 4,500 churches closed. Lifeway had last analyzed these numbers in 2014 when 4,000 churches were opened and 3,700 closed.

“Over the last decade, most denominations have increased the attention they are giving to revive existing congregations that are struggling,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.

On average, 42% of those worshiping at churches launched between 2008 and 2014 previously never attended church or hadn’t in many years.

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