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Wednesday
Feb162011

Membership of Pentecostal Church, Jehovah's Witnesses Up, Protestant Down

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- America is the most developed nation when it comes to religion. It has a dynamic, competitive religious marketplace -- which means it has winners and losers.

According to a report by the National Council of Churches, the biggest losers are the mainstream Protestant churches -- the Presbyterian Church, Methodists and Lutherans are all showing a dip in membership.

While each of them are down just a few percentage points (the data was compiled in 2009 and reported to the council in 2010) the declines have reached into the double digits over the last decade. Some of the churches are responding with ad campaigns.

Pentecostal churches, on the other hand, are seeing a surge in membership. More people are attending the services, where members believe that the Holy Spirit can give you gifts, like speaking in tongues. Sarah Palin famously used to attend.

The Jehovah's Witnesses, known for their door-to-door preaching, had the largest growth of any single denomination. They believe secular society is corrupt, and that Armageddon is imminent. Famous members include Venus and Serena Williams. Membership shot up 4.37 percent in a year.

Membership in the Mormon Church also went up, by 1.42 percent. With famous members like Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck and Twilight author Stephanie Meyer, the church is doing more outreach to the mainstream media.

The biggest competition for churches isn't other churches, it's other things entirely, like television, the Internet and the mall. The new report says that total church membership in America continues to decline. Fifteen percent of Americans say they have no religion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio