Church Rankings Show Baptist Churches on the Rise

March 17, 2004

Source: Beliefnet

On March 17, 2004 Beliefnet reported, "The nation's 10 largest churches remain unchanged from last year, according to the 2004 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, with the American Baptist Churches in the USA reporting the fastest growth of any Protestant denomination. The annual report of church membership figures, compiled by the National Council of Churches, found 161 million adherents in some 215 different denominations in 2002, the latest year for which figures are available. American Baptist Churches reported a growth rate of nearly 3 percent. marking the second year of sustained growth after two previous years of decline. American Baptists rose from 20th to 19th place, with a total of 1.48 million members. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which last year had the most significant growth percentagewise, with an astonishing 11 percent, saw a decline of 1.18 percent in the new yearbook... The Orthodox Church in America lost 100,000--or 10 percent--of its members, knocking it out of 25th place. It was replaced by the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.), which reported 944,857 members. Among the top 10 churches, Catholics, Southern Baptists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Assemblies of God all reported growth. "