St. Arbucks Chapel- April 7, 2021

Majority of Americans don’t belong to a place of worship in historic decline, poll finds BY MIKE STUNSON

MARCH 29, 2021 03:16 PM,

A poll by Gallup found that fewer than 50% of Americans belong to a place of worship. Millennials and liberals are among the demographics  MARKUS SCHREIBER AP

For the first time in eight decades, fewer than 50% of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque amid an ongoing steep decline in religious attendance, according to a new bi-annual Gallup poll.

Gallup first began polling Americans on church membership in 1937. In the six decades that followed, between 68% and 76% of Americans said they belonged to a place of worship. Then, at the turn of the century, a persistent decline in religious membership began — and has continued for 20 years.
More than 6,000 Americans were polled in the latest Gallup poll, and 47% now say they are a member of a church, synagogue or mosque. It’s the first time the percentage dipped below 50% since Gallup was founded in 1935.

About 70% of Americans identify as Christian, the Pew Research Center found. About 2% of Americans identify as Jewish and nearly 1% are Muslim. Those represent the largest religious groups in the United States.


The decline in membership coincides with an increase in the number of Americans who do not identify with a particular religion, according to Gallup.

In the past three years, about 21% of Americans say they do not have a religious preference. This is a sharp increase from the 8% mark from 1998 to 2000.

There is also a decline in church membership among U.S. adults who are religious. From 1998 to 2000, about 73% of Americans who have a religious preference went to church, but that number has dropped to 60%, according to Gallup.

“Church attendance is the first thing that goes, then belonging and finally belief — in that order. Belief goes last,” Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist minister, told Religion News.

A 2019 Pew Research poll supports Gallup’s new findings. Pew found that 65% of adults in the country described themselves as Christian — down 12 percentage points from a decade prior.

From Pastor Jeff…..

I hope you find this article disturbing. I certainly do. And yet, it invites me, you, us, to do some serious soul searching about how to deal with this adaptive challenge in our culture. The secularization of our culture is something we can complain about but that doesn’t move the needle, as the saying goes.

What are we going to do with this adaptive challenge? Look at the difference between a technical problem and an adaptive challenge as described below. The Kansas Leadership Center based on the work of Harvard University’s professor, Ron Heifetz, teaches us it is really tempting to create technical solutions (easy fixes)  to adaptive problems (extremely challenging situations) and then we wonder why it doesn’t change anything. I want to spend some time in my blog wrestling with this issue of what it means to live in a post-Christian culture. I truly believe there are adaptive solutions to adaptive challenges, but it will require the work and power of the Holy Spirit to be sought and valued if there is any hope of bringing the Good News to a desperate world.


  1. Easy to identify.
  2. Often lend themselves to quick and concrete solutions
  3. Often can be solved by an authority or expert
  4. People are generally receptive to technical solutions
  5. Technical solutions can often be implemented quickly—even by decree


  1. Difficult to identify and easy to deny.
  2. When leaders are solving adaptive challenges, they need to think systemically in order to understand the whole array of actors involved, they need to understand the root causes which will require committing time and energy.
  3. Require changes in values, beliefs, roles, relationships, and approaches to how to accomplish goals
  4. People with the problem are the main actors who need to do the work of solving it
  5. Require change in numerous places; usually cross organizational boundaries, therefore requires systems thinking.
  6. People often resist while acknowledging the existence of the adaptive challenge.
  7. Solutions require experiments and new discoveries; they can take a long time to implement and cannot be implemented by decree: “You have to trust each other.”

Have a blessed week!

Pastor Jeff