The Religion Singularity: A Demographic Crisis Destabilizing and Transforming Institutional Christianity

By Kenneth Howard.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 26, 2017 Free Download

The purpose of this article is to trace the emergence of a worldwide church demographic crisis that the author calls the “Religion Singularity,” and to project its impact on the future of institutional Christianity. For nineteen centuries, Christianity experienced strong and steady growth in the total numbers of Christians, worship centers, and denominations worldwide. Since then growth in the number of Christians has continued largely unchanged. But growth in the number of denominations and worship centers turned sharply upward in recent decades, substantially exceeding the growth rate of the total Christian population. This differential is driving a concurrent decline in the size of those institutions to unsustainable levels by the end of the century. The author suggests that denominations are unlikely to survive this severe downsizing. Meanwhile, given their smaller size and more organic structure, worship centers are more likely to survive the religion singularity than their larger counterparts, but only if they are willing to become vision-guided and experimental.

Keywords: Christianity, Denomination, Denominational Decline, Fragmentation, Institutional Christianity, Religion Singularity, Singularity, Sustainability, Technological Singularity, Worship Center

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.77-93. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 26, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 487.858KB)).

Rev. Kenneth Howard

Executive Director, The FaithX Project, Germantown, Maryland, USA