Only three of the largest Christian denominations in the U.S. are now “mainline Protestant.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now the nation’s fourth-largest denomination.
And the (Pentecostal) Church of God in Christ is fifth.
Six of the 15 largest denominations are African American church groups.
The Roman Catholic Church, of course, remains far and away the nation’s largest religious group with some 67.5 million people in the U.S. The second largest group, the Southern Baptist Convention, is way back with 16.3 million.
These are some of the interesting findings in the 2008 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, published by the National Council of Churches. It’s probably the most credible source of basic church info — histories, leadership, the latest stats — for 224 denominations.
Among the 25 largest denominations, the Episcopal Church lost the highest percentage of members, 4.15%. Presbyterian Church (USA) was next, down 2.36%.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses, in the 25th spot, had the largest growth, 2.25%. The Latter-day Saints were next, up 1.56%.
The yearbook also includes a survey of health-care ministries. The survey was sent to 6,000 congregations. About 70% of responding churches provide direct health-care services.
The Rev. Eileen W. Lindner, editor of the yearbook, who supervised the survey, said:
It is not surprising to find that churches see health care as a part of their faith mission and mandate. The results of this survey confirm a higher energy for health care than we might have thought, however, and show that effective health care ministries are being developed by congregations of all sizes to meet the urgent needs of their communities.