Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

PCK Tonghap Baptized Membership in 30s and 40s Is Declining

2017-09-08 17:19

Last year the number of baptized members of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) - Tonghap, one of the largest Korean church denominations, went down by 12,000 persons.

Though the number of Protestant church members has been decreasing over the past few years, it is the first time since the Korean church began publishing church statistics that the number of baptized members “confessing their faith” has shown a decrease. This is attracting attention, since the survey results for other denominations will be also announced during their general assemblies later this fall.

According to “Church Statistics of the 101th Year,” published by the Statistics Committee of PCK Tonghap on September 7, the total number of church members was 2,731,000 as of the end of last year. This is approximately 2.1% less than the year before, and the number of members has continued to decrease since 2011. Social causes such as the overall decline in the birth rate seem to have had an influence.

Changes in the numbers of baptized members are noticeable in this year’s statistics. The number of total baptized members is 0.7% (12,000 persons) less than a year ago. Among baptized members, the number of acting deacons (607,000 at the end of last year) is fewer by 8,100 persons. Acting deacons are active members of local churches, usually Sunday school teachers, choir members, parking lot volunteers, etc., in their 30s and 40s.

This corresponds with the increase in older baptized members. The number of ordained deacons has increased by 3,239 persons (4.5%), and elders by 909 (3%). The statistics show that there are fewer new acting deacons than there are older acting deacons becoming ordained deacons and elders, as church members overall are becoming older.

On the other hand, the statistics show that numbers of churches and pastors are on a constant increase. There are 8,984 PCK Tonghap churches as of the end of last year, 141 (1.6%) more than the previous year. Pastors number 19,302, an increase of 590 (3.2%) over the year before.

Reporters Jang Chang-Il & Jaechan Park (jangci@kmib.co.kr), with Yeara Ahn-Park (yap@kmib.co.kr)
Graphic by Young Eun Lee

Original Article in Korean:
교회의 허리 ‘3040 세례교인’ 급감: 예장통합 교세 통계 발표

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