In 2022, Presbyterian Church (USA) lost more than 100 congregations and more than 53,000 members, according to the PCUSA Office of the General Assembly.
The PCUSA boasted about 1.140 million members before that number fell to 1.93 million, according to the annual statistics.
“We are not surprised by the numbers we are seeing. While the pandemic may be over, the impact on church membership is still being felt,” said Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the PCUSA General Assembly, The Christian Post reports.
“In the midst of the lower numbers, we continue to find encouragement in that new worshiping communities are still on the increase. We have added more than 20 in the past year, bringing our total to 267.”
But the numbers also showed that the number of youth professions in the PCUSA jumped to more than 7,000 in 2022 from the 2021 number of 5,708.
The number of “professions of faith and reaffirmations” also hiked from 10,921 in 2021 to more than 15,000 in 2022.
“The challenge for the PCUSA remains the same: Look for new ways to engage and welcome young people into the fold. These are dramatic and fast-changing times,” Nelson said.
“Our world is changing, and the church needs to meet the growing needs of people who are finding themselves at a crossroads. We need to remind them that Jesus Christ is still in our midst and that means finding new, innovative ways to be church.”
Nelson is stepping down as stated clerk in the summer.
“I have sought God’s will my entire life, following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather to preach the gospel in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” Nelson said.
“I believe that God calls us into new seasons in our life of discipleship. Following many conversations with my wife and daughter, I believe I have entered into this new season.”
Experts say the decline in the congregation may be because of the “progressive theological direction” of PCUSA.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.