Churches & Religious Organizations

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 184,700 churches and religious organizations in the US provide spiritual worship, guidance, and education. Some organizations operate hospitals or schools. While such ancillary programs are generally managed separately from their associated organization, churches often provide financial support.

Slow-growing Membership

Church membership among major denominations has been flat or declining in recent years, challenging organizations to discover innovative ways to attract new members.

Ideological Conflict

Disagreements over controversial issues can cause congregations to split, significantly reducing revenue for the original organization.

Industry size & Structure

A typical church or religious organization operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 10 workers and generates about $956,000 million annually.

    • Churches and religious organizations consist of about 184,700 organizations, which employ nearly 1.7 million workers and generate $174 billion in annual revenue.
    • Religious organizations include temples, synagogues, mosques, and shrines.
    • Church size can be classified by average weekly attendance: Small (less than 200 people), medium (200 to 400), large (400 to 2,000), and megachurch (2,000+).
    • About 20% of Americans claim to attend weekly, and about 11% claim to attend nearly weekly or monthly, according to Gallup.
    • Large religious organizations include the Catholic Church (52 million members), the Southern Baptist Convention (12.9 million), the United Methodist Church (5.4 million), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (6.8 million).
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Churches & Religious Organizations Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Recent Developments

                                    Jun 2, 2024 - Young Men More Likely To Stay With Religion Than Young Women
                                    • Young men are more likely to stay with religion than young women for the first time in 20 years, according to a survey by the Survey Center on American Life, a project of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Generation Z women are more likely to disaffiliate than men, at 54% to 46%. Researchers point to influences such as church teaching on controversial issues. Fifty-four percent of young women are pro-choice, according to a 2022 General Social Survey, and when it comes to the LGBTQ divide, 31% of Gen Z women identify as LGBTQ compared with 15% of Gen Z men. Young women in general are simply becoming more liberal and progressive, while the newest generation of Catholic priests are markedly more conservative, according to AEI researchers.
                                    • About 80% of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey said that religion’s role in American life is shrinking. About 49% of respondents said that religion is losing influence and that this is a bad thing. Some 8% said that religion’s influence is growing and that this is a good thing. About 57% of respondents expressed a positive view of religion’s influence on American life.
                                    • Every major religious group in America has seen its number of followers flatline or decrease, according to polling results from the Public Religion Research Institute. The share of Americans identifying as “unaffiliated” — a category that encompasses atheists, agnostics, and those who say they are “nothing in particular” — increased 15.8%. Factors contributing to the across the board decreases in religious affiliation range from a loss of belief to a loosening of community ties, according to the poll.
                                    • Small church communities are increasingly threatened by decreasing membership and the greater popularity of ‘megachurches’, according to the authors of The Great Dechurching: Who’s Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back? The authors point out that only 10% of America’s faith communities currently have more than 250 people at weekly services, yet around 70% of churchgoers attend such churches. The authors also note that once vibrant churches are slowly closing their doors. About 3,000 Protestant churches were officially opened in 2019 while 4,5000 closed. About 4,000 Protestant churches were officially opened in 2014 while 3,700 closed.
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