An analysis of factors contributing to the decline of Protestant churches in a metropolitan center
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This research analyzed the factors contributing to the decline of protestant churches in metropolitan centers. Houston, Texas, was named as the metropolitan center. The research concern is that there is a lack of current and recent knowledge of factors leading to the decline of Protestant churches in metropolitan centers. The purpose of this study was to identify the biblical and theological, leadership and organizational, cultural, and demographic factors contributing to the decline of Protestant churches. Precedent literature reviews the literature written in the area of church growth and decline. Five areas are researched: Church growth specialists is a review of leading contributors to the church growth movement. Biblical and theological concerns is a review of God's loving relationship with his people and the people's rebellion and decline. Leadership and organizational concerns is a review of the effects of leadership and organization on the churches today. Cultural concerns is a review of the effects of culture on the church today. It reviews both Christianity in culture and culture in the church. And, demographic concerns is a review of how demographic changes have affected the church. It reviews the contextual factors leading to church decline and the life-cycle of the church. The methodological design of the study was a survey of Protestant churches in Houston, Texas. The sampling of 542 churches was taken from 842 Protestant churches of nine major denominations. A Likert response scale survey was created based on the research found in the precedent literature. Two surveys were created and distributed: an electronic response survey the pastors responded to online and a paper survey mailed out to the churches. The analysis of findings reviewed the one hundred churches that responded to the survey. In all, nineteen factors within the areas of concern were researched and analyzed. The results demonstrate that biblical and theological concerns illustrate no differences between growing and declining churches. Leadership and organizational concerns, cultural concerns and demographic concerns all demonstrate a difference between growing and declining churches. The conclusion was that there are many factors that contribute to church decline. The declining churches had numerous factors that were contributing to the decline. Decisive actions must be taken for the churches to turn into healthy and productive growing churches.
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