The decline and revitalization of Protestantism has been a hot topic for several decades. Some point to the move away from Protestantism as the majority faith affiliation in the United States as evidence that the mainline church (and, in some circles, the American way of life) is dying. Others acknowledge the falling numbers but welcome the possibilities for renewal and reinvigoration. The debate resurfaced in an August 2004 issue of Time magazine; the discussion of the National Opinion Research Center’s finding that Protestant affiliation fell suddenly from 63 percent in 1993 (and earlier) to 52 percent in 2002.

Diana Butler Bass, taking the debate’s optimistic perspective, explores the opportunities in the Alban Institute’s The Practicing Congregation: Imagining a New Old Church. Other information from a variety of research initiatives on religious practice and American culture is available through Congregational Resource Guide.


Featured Resources

AL272_SMA House of Prayer for All Peoples: Congregations Building Multiracial Community  by Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook

Contrary to the oft-repeated truism, there are churches in America where Sunday is not the “most segregated day of the week,” as Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook convincingly demonstrates in her compelling exploration of congregations tackling racial justice issues. Yet the truism continues to haunt many congregations, and Kujawa-Holbrook reveals, through story and thoughtful analysis, what it means to create and live out multiracial community.

Embracing Diversity: Leadership in Multicultural Congregations by Charles R. Foster

Explore a variety of approaches congregations have taken to embrace differences; identify leadership issues diversity creates in congregations; and discover programmatic suggestions drawn from the experience of multicultural congregations to address these issues.