Of the top 10 churches in America, the Assemblies of God led the way in growth, with a 3.99 percent increase last year. According to the National Council of Churches' 2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, of the churches reporting, the only other two churches in the top 10 to see increases were the National Baptist Convention (3.95 percent) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1.62 percent).
Currently, the Assemblies of God is ranked ninth overall in size in the United States, with 3,030,944 adherents. As the AG continues its growth, there were slight declines in the two largest church bodies (Catholic Church, .44 percent drop; Southern Baptist Convention, .15 percent drop). Other churches felt more significant losses (No. 7 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 5.9 percent drop; No. 10 Presbyterian Church, 3.42 percent drop; No. 14 The Episcopal Church, 2.71 percent drop).
"The direction of membership (growth or decline) remains very stable," wrote Dr. Eileen Lindner, the yearbook's editor. "Most churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years have continued to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in membership in recent years have continued to decline."
The report found that of the churches reporting, total church membership was down 1.15 percent, while contributions to churches overall dropped by a total of $1.2 billion.
Of the top 25 churches, only six of those reporting saw growth of any kind. However, Pentecostal churches seemed to be maintaining or growing.
"Although seeing our growth is encouraging, I believe this is just the start of even greater things to come for the Assemblies of God," states Dr. George O. Wood, AG general superintendent. "The Holy Spirit is moving in America and people are hungry to experience the truth of the gospel in their lives. When people experience true relationship with Jesus Christ, it is life changing!"
For the full National Council of Churches new release and the listing of top 25 churches, click here.