Number of American Christians and Church goers on the decline - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Number of American Christians and Church goers on the decline

 The number of American's that identify as Christian and the number of people going to Church is on the decline according to two new studies.

While seven in 10 Americans identify as Christians that number has decreased by 8 percent since 2008, according to the Pew Research Center.

The decline of churchgoers is greatest among American youth according to a survey by the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

The PLOS study surveyed 11 million Americans over 40 years and found that less and less young people identify themselves as religious.

The study found that the majority of Americans are still religiously involved. But, twice as many 12th graders and college students, and 20% to 40% more 8th and 10th graders never attended religious services.

The study cites a cultural shift toward individualism as a reason. Such as an increased focus on self and less on social rules.

Jared Sparks, the assistant to the pastor at the Christian Covenant Fellowship in Carterville, Illinois said the majority of his congregation is older than 30. 

"Poll after poll study after study about millennials leaving the church. And they're not leaving the church. They're not apart of the church."

Sparks said he too noticed the generational gap and its conflict with Christianity.

"From selfies to you know Facebook profiles to online image to whatever, the cry of millennials is young men and women both is look at me, honor me, worship me, tell me I'm awesome," Sparks said. "And the Christian message is no your not, there's only one worthy of worship and that's Jesus."

Sparks said the church should focus on converting people that attend church and the message will spread through them.

The Pew research found that as the number of American Christians decline, more people are identifying as non-Christians and unaffiliated.

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