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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories


A/G among fastest growing faith groups

By John W. Kennedy (December 8, 2002)

The Assemblies of God grew by 18.5 percent during the 1990s, the third largest gain among major faith groups in the country, according to a recent nationwide study. The A/G gained 400,388 adherents during the decade, up to 2,561,998. The Fellowship also added 731 congregations, for a total of 11,880. The figures, covering only stateside totals, are different from the official A/G statistics, which include Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 19.3 percent, and the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, at 18.6 percent, grew faster during the span. For total number of congregations, the A/G follows the Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Catholics and Churches of Christ.

The findings of the once-a-decade study published by the Nashville-based Glenmary Research Center also show that the A/G is in the top 276 metro regions of the nation, the only group to be so positioned besides Southern Baptists and Catholics.

The A/G is the fourth most widespread body in the country, located in 83.3 percent of the nation’s counties, for a presence in 2,616 counties. United Methodists are the most prevalent, in nearly 96 percent of counties, followed by Catholics at 95 percent and Southern Baptists with 85 percent.

A/G Statistician Sherri L. Doty, who participated in the research, says part of the A/G expansion is attributable to growth in ethnic churches. During the decade, the number of Hispanic A/G congregations grew by 29 percent while the number of Latino adherents increased by 53 percent, according to Doty.

The data indicate the Assemblies of God is the largest faith group in four U.S. counties: Asotin County, Wash.; Wheeler County, Ore.; Wheatland County, Mont.; and Eaton County, Mich. Except for Eaton County – which includes part of the state capital, Lansing – all are rural areas.

The A/G is the largest Protestant group in an additional 50 counties. Many are located in the western United States, where overall church participation is lowest. Eleven each are in Washington and California, including Sacramento County, California’s capital, while seven are in Oregon. Four are in Colorado, three each in Alaska and Idaho, two each in Hawaii and Montana, with one apiece in Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

The study indicates that Oklahoma has the most penetration of any state for the Fellowship, with more than 25 adherents per thousand population, or a total of 88,301. Not surprisingly, California, the most populous state, has the most A/G members, 310,522. The largest number of A/G followers in an urban area are in Los Angeles with 111,815.

According to the study, the A/G ranks eighth among 149 participating faiths in size. Catholics are first with 62 million followers, and are the largest group in 38 states. The Southern Baptist Convention, which at 19.9 million adherents is the largest Protestant group, is the most populous faith in 10 states, all in the South.

However, the Glenmary methodology relies on self-reporting and does not include data from 14 bodies, most of them predominantly black denominations. Denominations not participating in the study included the National Baptist Convention of America and the Church of God in Christ, both of which are larger than the A/G, according to the 2002 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

In addition, several evangelical and Pentecostal groups with fewer than 1 million adherents showed remarkable growth, including the Salvation Army up 225 percent, the Evangelical Free Church up 57 percent, the International Pentecostal Holiness church up 53 percent, the Wesleyan church up 47 percent, the Presbyterian Church in America up 42 percent and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) up 40 percent.


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