Colleges see interest fade in Christian groups


Source: Central Florida Future

ORLANDO Visiting Pastor Bobby Brooks tells the story of David and Goliath to a congregation of University of Central Florida students. Worshipers quickly flip to the 1 Samuel chapter on their smartphones.

Every Tuesday night, the Central Florida Wesley Foundation gathers at University Carillon Methodist Church , and although the club boasts 80 members, that number is David-sized compared to the Goliath crowd it used to draw.

The Wesley Foundation has lost 36 percent of its members since 2007, when it counted 125 students. These numbers, provided by the University of Central Florida’s Office of Student Involvement, are self-reported estimates from the registered student organization.

“I don’t know if it’s just a lack of interest or commitment,” said Charity Lopez, associate director of the Wesley Foundation. “It’s easier to stay at home on your couch.”

And the Wesley Foundation isn’t the only one. UCF’s Campus Crusade for Christ is down 186 members since 2007, and Catholic Campus Ministry has lost 95. The Latter-day Saints Student Association and Orthodox Christian Fellowship have also seen minor dips.

What’s happening on college campuses echoes a national trend. No matter the denomination, age, race or region, the Pew Research Center found this year that 5 million fewer Americans, or roughly 173 million people, call themselves Christian today than in 2007.  Nondenominational congregations, on the other hand, saw a growth of about 2 million adults.

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