The Economy's Influence On Church Attendance - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

The Economy's Influence On Church Attendance

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Is the bad economy affecting church crowds? Several churches across the nation are seeing an increase in members. KTEN's Jhen Kordela spoke with the pastor of a Denison church that's expanding and has some local perspective.

While a lot of places nationwide have had to downsize because of the affects of the economy, Denison's Parkside Baptist Church is under construction, adding on a family life center.

Workers started laying down the groundwork of the two-story building a month ago, making way for a recreation outreach facility that'll have a gym and walking track. Officials are hoping to have the center finished in a year. The new, approximately $5 million, addition to the church will come in handy with an increasing amount of people attending service.

"We're kind of on a little bit of an upsurge in the last year or so," says Pastor Chet Haney. "And, were very grateful for that because we're finding people who are coming to the church to kind of just check us out -- kick the tires -- and see if we have anything to offer that might help them. And, in the process, we're meeting a lot of families who really do have needs."

What Pastor Haney is seeing is not uncommon. Many churches across the nation are reporting larger crowds as a result of bad economic times. While, Haney says he can't attribute the crowd influx to money troubles, it wouldn't be surprising. And, there is some credibility to the theory.

According to one study by an assistant professor of economics at Texas State University, during each recession cycle between 1968 and 2004, the growth rate in evangelical churches leaped by 50 percent. The numbers varied by religion.

- Jhen Kordela, KTEN News