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Nearly 70% of churchgoers have 'a growing sense of fear': Lifeway Research

Nearly 70% of churchgoers have 'a growing sense of fear': Lifeway Research

By Michael Gryboski, Mainline Church Editor
August 10, 2023

More than two-thirds of Protestant pastors have reported that there is "a growing sense of fear" in their congregations regarding the future, according to a recent report by Lifeway Research.

Lifeway Research released the findings of a study that found 69% of Protestant pastors said they "believe there is a growing sense of fear within their congregations about the future of the nation and world."

Lifeway found that 63% of surveyed Protestant pastors said their churches also have "a similar increasing dread specifically about the future of Christianity in the U.S. and around the world."

However, the report noted that the numbers represented a decline from past years, as 76% of Protestant pastors reported "a growing sense of fear" in 2010, and 74% reported the same in 2014.

Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement that despite the declining numbers, "a large majority of pastors see their congregations moving toward fear rather than away from it."

"The number of people in America embracing the Christian faith is on a downward trajectory. So it isn't surprising congregations are afraid of this trendline," stated McConnell. "Unfortunately, the growth of Christianity in other parts of the world is not bringing American Christians much comfort."

Data for the report came from a phone survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors conducted Sept. 6-30, 2022, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.2% at a 95% confidence level.

The survey also found that while 64% of white pastors saw fear in their congregation, only 47% of African American pastors reported the same. Additionally, 76% of nondenominational pastors reported fear about the future of Christianity in their churches, which was more than reported by Baptist (68%), Methodist (66%) and Presbyterian/Reformed pastors (49%).

"One of the most terrible weapons that the devil uses against Christians is the weapon of fear," argued Oscar Amaechina, president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, in an op-ed piece for The Christian Post published last year.

"He harps on circumstances and situations to create fear in the lives of Christians. It is natural for humans to respond to external stimuli through fear, which is why the devil capitalizes on this to make faulty evidences appear real."


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