The Wesleyan Church (TWC) 2018 statistics show 138,190 members, 235,100 in worship attendance, 30,907 conversions and 11,560 baptisms. Between 2018 and 2017, membership declined 2.0 percent, attendance declined 2.0 percent, conversions declined 3.8 percent and baptisms declined 5.9 percent.
Small- to mid-size churches showed attendance growth. Churches classified as 50 to 99 reported 0.5 percent growth. Churches classified as 100 to 199 reported 4.5 percent growth.
Seventy-five churches reported an average attendance of 500 or more. Currently, 47.2 percent of all Wesleyans attend one of these churches.
“The Wesleyan Church – even during our 10 years of incremental growth – remained focused on expanding our impact for the sake of reaching the lost,” said General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt. “The 2018 statistics validate and even heighten the critical need to zealously pursue our mission.
“The Gospel Gap is widening between the number of churches and the number of people who cannot yet make an informed decision for Jesus Christ,” Schmidt said. “This ever-growing Gospel Gap is why we are praying for The Wesleyan Church to become a movement. It’s the reason we are asking the three core questions: who is making disciples in our church, how many disciples are multiplying our churches and where are we a transforming presence by disciples making disciples.
“We are commanded by God to reach the lost,” said Schmidt. “I urge you to join me in continuing to pray for God’s favor in maximizing our resources so that none will be lost.”
In the fifty years since merger, Wesleyan churches have recorded more than 1,132,000 conversions. Membership has grown by 70 percent and worship attendance is more than double the combined attendance of the two previous denominations – The Wesleyan Methodist Church of America and the Pilgrim Holiness Church. Membership has increased from 80,990 in 1968 to 138,190 in 2018. Attendance in 1968 stood at 109,392, compared to 235,100 in 2018.
Wesleyan historian Dr. Bob Black observed in the 50th anniversary edition of Wesleyan Life magazine: “Several denominational mergers occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, most involving churches much larger than the Wesleyans. One after another, mergers of comparable or greater size from that period have resulted not in growth but in decline, some registering as much as a 50 percent drop. On the other hand, Wesleyan worship attendance worldwide has more than quadrupled, from 130,000 soon after merger to more than 550,000 in 2017.”
Worldwide statistics will be updated later in the fall after reports come in from other General Conferences, regional conferences and Wesleyan churches around the world.