An article in The New York Times, Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate, Report Finds tells of a Pew Trust funded study which found, "that 44 percent of Americans have switched religious affiliations." The study also noted that 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women have no religious affiliation. This term does not mean atheist or agnostic, but those together with people who are "nothing in particular" when it comes to religion.
The decline in brand loyalty for denominations is not surprising. Sticking to one denomination come Heaven or Baptismal waters was more common in a time when people kept a job for most of their adult life and left with a gold watch and a healthy pension. Today loyalty is down all over and this is true of churches as well. There is a downside in that it can be good to find a church that challenges you and this may be found in staying put. That sort of stability says that the church (which is the people) matters more than the pastor or programs or whatever else changes that causes someone to leave. But many times, changing churches may be the best way to be more faithful about attending church, and what is wrong with that?
I think the plus side of changing is that one can also find the right church for him or her (or their family). This matters so much that whether one is an Episcopalian in this town and a Methodist in that town may matter less. We certainly see this at King of Peace which is less melting pot and more hearty stew, with people from a variety of denominational backgrounds coming together.
We may as well not get too set in denominational prefence anyway. Once we get to heaven, denominational distinctions will matter not the least. There we will be one as we worship our one Lord.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor