Nov. 13, 2012
-- (PEORIA, Ariz.) — With 85 percent of the people living in Maricopa County not attending church services on a weekly basis and a recent national study stating that one-fifth of the U.S. population is religiously unaffiliated, Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) is reaching out through its multi-site church strategy to impact the Phoenix metropolitan area with the message of God’s plan for their life.
CCV’s multi-site strategy, which currently includes campuses in Peoria, Scottsdale and Surprise, allows the church to continue to grow its Neighborhood Group concept by connecting with neighbors and serving local communities. With more than 18,000 people currently attending 12 services at its three campuses each weekend, CCV is the largest non-denominational church in Arizona and one of the largest churches in the United States. CCV, which recently launched its newest campus in North Scottsdale on Oct. 14, has plans to reach more than 100,000 people at 10 campuses throughout the Valley by 2020.
According to survey results from the American Church Research Project, only 14.7 percent of the population living in Maricopa County attends church each weekend. Looking back, attendance at churches in Maricopa County declined 11.1 percent from 1990-2000 while the total population increased nearly 28 percent during the same time frame. Statewide, only 13.2 percent of Arizonans attend church services, which is much lower than the national average of 17 percent. The total number of people attending churches in Arizona has decreased 12.6 percent from 2000-09 while the total population in the state has increased 25 percent.
“CCV’s mission to make an impact on the communities in our Valley on a personal level has never been more relevant than it is right now,” said Dr. Don Wilson, CCV’s Senior Pastor. “The Pew Research Center study is a national confirmation of our strategy to bring positive change to the 85 percent of our neighbors who haven’t been challenged by the adventure of a life with Christ.”
According to a study released last month by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, titled “Nones on the Rise,” the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. population – and a third of adults under the age of 30 – consider themselves religiously unaffiliated, marking the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, people unaffiliated with a religion have increased from just over 15 percent to just under 20 percent of all U.S. adults.
The Pew Research Center study shows that the large and growing group of Americans is less religious than the public at large on many conventional measures, including frequency of attendance at church and the degree of importance they attach to religion in their lives. The study also points out that the growth in the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans – sometimes called the rise of “nones” – is largely driven by the gradual supplanting of older generations by newer ones. A third of adults under the age of 30 have no religious affiliation (32 percent), compared with just a tenth who are 65 and older (9 percent).
Furthermore, there were only 147 new churches that opened throughout Arizona from 2000-08. Officials with the American Church Research Project predicted there would have needed to be an additional 749 churches added to keep pace with the population explosion throughout the state during the same time frame.