There is a problem in the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States of America.

This entry is part 20 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Mainline Decline and Third World Cell Church Growth             There is a problem in the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States of America. Scientific pollster George Gallup stated that “North America is the only continent where Christianity is not growing.”[1] John and Sylvia Ronsvalle discovered clear trends from 1968-1993 in giving and membership data in twenty-nine mainline denominations; if nothing changes, giving will entirely cease by 2032 and church membership “will fall to zero percent of the U.S. population in less than one hundred years.”[2] United Methodist church growth expert George Hunter, III, considered America in 1998 to be the fourth largest mission field in the world.[3]






[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Mission Spokane, “Why We Need to Plant New Churches . . . Nationwide,” Mission Spokane, (accessed June 12, 2007). Cf. Gene Wood, Leading Turnaround Churches (St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 2001), 34.

[2]Merton P. Strommen, The Innovative Church: Seven Steps to Positive Change in Your Congregation (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 1997), 80. For more information on research by the Ronsvalles, see empty tomb, inc.,

Home Page
(accessed June 12, 2007).

[3]George Hunter, quoted in David J. Gyertson, “Ministry in the New Millennium,” Ministry Magazine, (September 1998).

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