PCA Growing?

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by CharlieJ, May 28, 2009.

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  1. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Whenever I talk to PCA people, they make it sound like their denomination is just exploding with new growth. So, I took a look at the statistics posted on the PCA site. Presbyterian Church in America              Statistics

    According to the site, the number of churches grew from 1,278 in 2003 to 1,372 in 2007. That averages 1.84% growth per year (total difference divided by 4 and converted to percentage).

    Total membership rose from 320,400 to 345,582. That's a total difference of 25,182 people, or 1.96% growth per year.

    So, I guess the PCA is doing better than declining liberal denominations, but I don't see what all the hype is about. It seems as if the biggest "growth" is from other Presbyterian groups joining the PCA (like RPCES). Am I missing something? Are the statistics not counting some things?
  2. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    jealous, much?
  3. Knoxienne

    Knoxienne Puritan Board Graduate

  4. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    I'll add that part of my confusion comes from getting a visitor's packet from a PCA church in town. In that packet was some info about the PCA. It represented the PCA as this booming entity - the most exciting movement since the hippies. Now, I understand the desire to present your denomination in the best light, but if it isn't really growing that fast, maybe the literature should make the "pitch" on different grounds.
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Here in our presb. (eastern Canada) we have 5 established congregations and 6 church plants (in varying stages).

    So yes we are growing.
  6. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    I wish the PCA would plant one on the Indiana side of the Ohio River (Louisville area).
  7. cbryant

    cbryant Puritan Board Freshman

    Most of the growth you see in the PCA is transfer growth from people coming to the PCA from another denomination (I for one came from the SBC denomination and have known many others that have done the same thing, this to the displeasure of some of my die hard SBC friends). I have seen a few adult converts in PCA churches but transfer growth seems to be the norm. I am also curious to see if those growth statistics include those who transfer from one PCA church to another PCA church. :think:
  8. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    My guess is that the growth boom people talk about is largely urban church plants, while maybe the suburban and rural PCA churches are not really growing.

    Good question. I'd like to see where the growth is occurring and where it is not.
  9. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Yes, steady growth is better than steady decline, I don't think you are "missing something" in that.

    The pattern is slow but steady growth over the five years of the statistic while the mainline denominations have more than slow, steady decline.

    We would have to look at the statistics over a longer period of time and break them down to understand more. As I understand it, the PCA has not required member churches to report numbers, and that is a huge issue in terms of these numbers.

    From observation only, the PCA is growing from:

    1) A few particular churches going into it, a net increase over a few that leave
    2) A slow but steady increase in new members
    3) A high birth rate (covenant community really emphasizes children)

  10. R Harris

    R Harris Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am always skeptical of any statistics published by any denomination.

    I have known for a fact of some SBC churches which have kept people on the rolls for years who have either transferred or left the denomination entirely, yet were still counted on the roll of the original church.

    It would not surprise me to see this practice occurring in other denominations.
  11. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    I could care less about numbers, but I rejoice that the PCA is prospering in the proclamation of the gospel!
  12. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Please see this past year's numbers:

    Churches & Missions – 1,693 in 2008. Net Gain of 27 (net gain was 45 in 2007)
    Total professions of Faith – 10,335. Net Increase of 135 more than 2007.
    Total Membership –340,852. Net Decrease of 4,730 (1.37%).
    Total Family Units – 135,539, Net Decrease of 4,748.
    Sunday School Attendance – 110,652. Net Decrease of 1,259.
    Adult Baptisms – 2,488. Net Decrease of 170.
    Infant Baptisms – 5,434. Net Decrease of 33.
  13. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    Very true. There are more important things than the stats. It's encouraging to see any reformed denomination grow in size, but I hope those same churches are growing in love, wisdom, and mercy.
  14. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    It's George Bush's fault. :D
  15. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Growth can be a good thing, dependent on what it is growing in to.
  16. Knoxienne

    Knoxienne Puritan Board Graduate

  17. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Is it? How do you know?

    I'm not trying to be skeptical. I'm just trying to figure out, as a denomination, what the PCA is all about. Is it a group of people who publish theology books that are read only by people who already agree? Is it an organization that believes in church planting, but only in middle-class Caucasian white-collar areas? Or, is it actively pursuing unreached areas and thoroughly penetrating existing ones?

    I do not know the answers to any of these questions. How would one go about finding answers?

    BTW, I am attending a PCA church now and absolutely love it. I still know very little about the denomination.
  18. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    Go to Welcome to the Mission to North America Homepage and you'll get an idea. From there google for your Presbytery and see what their site has to offer.

    As far as answers to a couple of your questions. The PCA is very active in addressing church planting in under-class Black/Latino urban areas. The problem is there are few who seem to hear a call to these areas. The White brothers who do have a very tough time of it but still they are faithful. Look into Faith Christian Fellowship in Baltimore, MD. The pastor's wife wrote a book about their experiences. I have been in a local meeting with the African-American Ministries Coordinator, Wy Plummer. The problem is getting people to "go."

    I've posted about this before. The PCA's problem in this area is not the PCA's problem but a sin problem. Black/Brown people want to hear the Gospel but usually they want to hear it from a Black/Brown pastor. Those of our White brothers who persevere take a beating along the way. It's a catch-22 for the PCA. I believe the PCA is doing what it can, with the people it has.

    I also wouldn't knock the middle-class white-collar churches or church plants. Someone has to pay for the inner-city church plants. I have seen the financial faithfulness of our White brother/sisters. There are many urban churches that because of their demographics never have the finances to be self-sufficient. I know of a couple who is giving a church $1,000/month for the next 50 months! Amen! God Bless those middle-class Caucasian white-collar churches.

    I believe the PCA is growing. I joined! :lol:
  19. Knoxienne

    Knoxienne Puritan Board Graduate

  20. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    :eek: I hope they bathe more regularly than the hippies.
  21. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    I thought it but didn't type it.
  22. E Nomine

    E Nomine Puritan Board Freshman

    Please plant a PCA in San Francisco!
  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    There is a good OPC church that my friend has been called to in Sunnyvale (which is supposedly pretty close to San Fran.
  24. Josiah

    Josiah Puritan Board Senior

  25. E Nomine

    E Nomine Puritan Board Freshman

    First OPC is a great church! I hope they get a Pastor soon.

    New Covenant OPC in South San Francisco is very good, too (and much closer to me than Sunnyvale).
  26. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    then what do you need a pca church there for? besides if you got one, that would be in one of the most liberal presbyteries in the PCA, it would probably thus be a liberal church.
  27. E Nomine

    E Nomine Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't know anything about PCA Presbyteries, but even a liberal PCA church would be a refreshing alternative to the 16 or so PCUSAs we have in the City.
  28. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    The PCA church in Pleasanton isn't too far from SF, and is one of the most conservative churches in the country. Conservative in that they follow the BCO. It's one of three churches in NorCal that have a copy.
  29. Oecolampadius

    Oecolampadius Puritan Board Sophomore

    Andrew, you're a minister in the PCA right? Wow. I thought I'd never hear a PCA minister say that about his fellow PCA. Thank you for supporting the OPC. And, I'll also always keep in mind what Dr. Craig Troxel told me, that not all PCA are alike.
  30. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I don't know if the liberal PCA in SF has a new pastor yet. The pastor stepped down a few months ago, since he was found out to have been a practicing homosexual. He was also the long term Moderator of the PCA NorCal Presbytery.
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