Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Gary Moritz


Church decline, attendance decline, church growth, risen Christ, renewal, generation, revitalization, COVID-19 Pandemic, resilience


Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The decline in church attendance is not a new phenomenon. Historical evidence shows that God has intervened to revitalize and restore the church to a healthy state. Unfortunately, attendance at churches in contemporary times worldwide has declined, as congregations at approximately ninety percent of churches have shrunk. This trend is evident in the United States, where upwards of fifty congregations close their doors permanently each week, resulting in an annual attendance decline of one to two percent. The decline is remarkable in the New York borough of Queens. Churches have been declining for decades, with only fifteen to twenty-five members attending Sunday worship services. The prolonged Coronavirus pandemic has also contributed to the increase in empty church pews, with fear of infection pushing many believers into virtual worship. Despite this bleak picture, history shows that in times of crisis, people frequently turn to the church for comfort, guidance, and community. Worshippers are aging, with only thirty-three percent of the eighteen to twenty-nine age group attending worship service each week, compared to fifty-three percent of those sixty-five years and older. There is hope that the decline can reverse. This Thesis project proposes a strategic revitalization plan to restore the local church to spiritual health. The plan suggests that the decline at local churches in Queens, New York, can reverse if the younger generations are recruited and given leadership roles.