Just an hour ago we were presented the latest statistics about the Church in Sweden. Öivind Thomson presented statistics which he and others have gathered during this last year which represent the figures of the year 2005. Comparison was drawn to the latest statistics from the year 2000.
Let me share some of the conclusive figures:
The Swedish Church (Figures received from their own central bureau).
o In the Swedish Church (Lutheran) there has been a decrease in membership from 7,3 million to 6,9 million people a decrease of 5,4 %!
o Participants during the worship services in this church was down from 113.6000 (on certain Sunday in November) to 95.900 which means a decrease of 15,6 %! 1,3 % of the members of the Swedish church were found in a worship service during this particular Sunday in November 2005!
o The number of churches was reduced from 2518 in the year 2000 to 2212 in 2005 which means a decrease of 12,2 %.
The Free churches in Sweden
o The number of free churches went from 2882 in the year 2000 down to 2650 in 2005.
o During these years 22 churches were planted, 74 churches merged with others and 220 churches were discontinued.
o In regards to membership we saw figures decline from 237.666 in 2000 to 224167 in 2005. This was a reduction of 13.500 which might not seem too many, but the cold reality is that we have lost a number of members which is the equivalent of the Alliansmissionen and Metodist movement in Sweden together!
We have to notify that membership does not mean active membership and besides that membership does not mean discipleship! On the other hand children are not included in these figures either! We all know that God’s Kingdom is so much greater than registered membership in churches; we have numerous initiatives where we find pockets of believers in many different villages, cities and places.
However, the trend is clear. Personally I do not believe that these figures would change much if we were able to measure the non-formal church structures. They might change our figures a bit but will not make a noticeable impact on them.
What do these figures mean to us? What does it do to my heart? I will get back to you about that within the next days… Until then I pray: “Lord speak again: Let there be light”!
That’s the Way I see it!