The three biggest UK denominations—Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians—are all declining quite quickly. Overall, their numbers have gone down 16 percent in just the last five years, Presbyterians the fastest (down 19%). Two other major groups are also declining, Baptists and Methodists, but they are much smaller in size.
The three major denominations form 60 percent of church members, and the smaller two another 16 percent. The remaining members often belong to the types of churches that are seeing the most growth right now—many of which have a Pentecostal bent, ranging from immigrant-founded denominations to Hillsong campuses.
Their increase, although significant, is unfortunately not enough to compensate for the drop among the bigger churches, but has moderated the overall decline. I’ll share below which kinds of churches are growing the fastest amid demographic shifts in the UK.
London is the epicenter for growing churches. Between 2005 and 2012, overall church attendance (not membership) in London went from 620,000 people to 720,000, a 16 percent increase. The number of churches increased by two a week, from 4,100 to 4,800. During this time, the city welcomed immigrants both from Europe and the rest of the world, its population growing from 7 million to 8 million in 10 years.
Many of those newcomers were Christians and sought a church that spoke their language.
A type of church that’s taking off in the UK:
“Messy churches,” which offer food, fun, and fellowship, especially for families. There are over 3,000 messy churches in the UK attended by some 103,000 people in 2019. https://t.co/DErEzTyBds
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) May 29, 2019