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john disque journalistRising with the Daily Sun
A daily column by John Disque

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Good Morning East Tennessee!

While writing yesterday's Rising column, I was struck by the fact that there's 6.2 churches for every 1 public school in Knoxville.

Now, before you think I'm bashing churches, I'm not. I just thought the stat was eye opening, and I'm not even sure why, but being today is Sunday I figured I take on the subject.

The number one thing that everyday people want in their pastors is: A sense of humor. Personally, I'd like a pillow.

There's 335,000 religious congregations in the United States. 300,000 are Christian churches. 22,000 are Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000.

It is not easy to get an accurate figure on the numbers of Americans who attend church. The reason is: people tend to exaggerate their own attendance. While it's said that 40% (or 118 million) of Americans attend, the figure is closer to 20% (or 59 million Americans)

Accurate England attendance is 30%.

By far the highest is Malta at 75%. Poland is: 63%. Ireland is 54%. Norway is only 3%.

Is church attendance increasing or declining? The quick answer is - some are declining, some are increasing, most are staying the same. The safe answer is: they are staying the same.

Rapidly declining membership - Protestant
Slightly Declining membership - Southern Baptist
Increasing membership - The United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, and the Presbyterian Churches

Of the people who attend, 27% report falling asleep at church. They have even come up with a name for these people -- "sermon sleepers" -- although I tend to call them "late-Saturday-night regretful partiers dreaming about pillows and hoping they don't snore."

Have a great day!

Published January 16, 2011

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