the MORE Network

The Bible Belt

Outreach Canada Website / Thursday, August 21, 2014

Abbotsford Church Research Project

December 2013-March 2014

Abbotsford, British Columbia has long been considered the “Bible Belt of BC.” In an era where not only is church attendance in decline, but churches are also closing their doors, does this nickname still ring true?

The city of Abbotsford is a large city, and it is growing. Abbotsford’s population has increased by 13,504 people, or 10.74%, from 125,692 to 139,196 between 2003 and 2013.[i]

Based on these stats, we can see that the city of Abbotsford is growing. But, is the church growing with it? Currently, there are a total of 95 churches within the city of Abbotsford. Therefore, there is one church for every 1,495 people. Sixty-four of these churches provided us with attendance statistics for 2003 and 2013.

The Findings

In 2003, the total worship service attendance of the responding churches was 17,860. These numbers reflect an average of 279.06 people per church. If we assume that the 31 non-responding churches had the same average worship attendance in 2003, we can project total worship attendance in all Christian churches to be 26,511. According to the 2001 Census, the total population that identified themselves as being Christian was 61.4%. If we assumed that only those who affiliated themselves with a Christian tradition attended church, the percentage of those that identified themselves as being Christian and regularly attended church in 2003 would be approximately 37.93%.[ii] Out of the total population of the city of Abbotsford, just 21.09% regularly attended church in 2003.

In 2013, the total worship attendance of the responding churches in was 16,489. These numbers reflect an average of 257.64 people per church. If we assume that the 31 non responding churches had the same average worship attendance in 2013, we can project total worship attendance in all Christian churches to be 24,476. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the total population that identified themselves as being Christian was 49.7%. %. If we assumed that only those who affiliated themselves with a Christian tradition attended church, the percentage of those that identified themselves as being Christian and regularly attended church in 2013 would be approximately 37.62%.[iii] Out of the total population of the city of Abbotsford, just 17.58% attended church in 2013.

Conclusions

From 2001-2013 the population of Abbotsford has drastically increased, while the population of Christians in Abbotsford has decreased. The population that has identified itself as having no religious affiliation has increased by 3.2% per year from 2001-2011, thus, comprising 25.47% of the population of Abbotsford. In contrast to Abbotsford’s population increase of 10.74%, the population of those that identify themselves as being Christian has decreased by 11.7%. That is a decrease of 4,825 people or of 0.7% per year. While the percentage of Christians who regularly attend church has remained about the same, the percentage of the population that regularly attended church in 2013 has declined by 3.5% since 2003, or 0.8% per year. That means that in the last decade, the number of people regularly attending worship services has declined by 2,035 attendees. If the Christian churches in Abbotsford were to have just kept pace with population growth the number of church attendees should have been 29,370, compared to the actual 2013 number of 24,476. This is a difference of 4,894 attendees. This difference should be of concern for the Christian church in Abbotsford.  

Of note is that the decrease in the Christian population of Abbotsford (4,825) is similar to the number of people needed (4,894) to maintain worship attendance numbers for Christian churches in 2013.

Some traditions have been more affected by the rapid decline in church attendance than others. For instance, the Lutherans and Presbyterians have, on average, seen a decline of -4.0% in attendance between 2003-2013. Other churches, such as the Anglican Church and the United Church, saw a decline in affiliation of 4% and 4.9% annually, respectively, from 2001-2011. The Pentecostals, on the other hand, have seen an increase in affiliation of 3.2% from 2001-2011, and an increase in attendance of 3.5% from 2003-2013. While these numbers may be discouraging, there is still hope for the church in Abbotsford.

Some might question Abbotsford’s nickname as the “Bible Belt of BC” in today’s post-modern, secularist society. Yet, even today approximately half of the population of Abbotsford identifies themselves as being Christian. Therefore, even though church attendance and the Christian population are in decline in Abbotsford, there is still something that is keeping the Bible in the belt.

 

[i] Population data from the 2001 Census and the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) is used for Religious Affiliation comparisons.

[ii] We recognize that there are people who attend church, but may not be affiliated with a Christian tradition.

[iii] Ibid.

 

Coming Soon: MORE Network Resource Library Coming Soon: MORE Network Resource Library

MORE Network Resource Library ... Coming Soon to a Computer Screen Near You!
Read More..

Katies Story Katie's Story

The story of a Missionary Kid who came to know Jesus at a ReBoot Retreat. 
Read More..

Virginias Story Virginia's Story

This is Virginia's story of how she came into relationship with the Lord!
Read More..

Top 10 Most Valuable Mindsets for MKs & TCKs Top 10 Most Valuable Mindsets for MKs & TCKs

We like Top Ten lists, don’t we? Bite-sized bits of information we can easily process and implement...
Read More..

Forced to Adapt or Choosing to Adapt? Forced to Adapt or Choosing to Adapt?

We can let what’s happening around us mold us or we can be purposeful and seek God’s help in adapti...
Read More..

Entering Well for MKs & TCKs - Transition Part II Entering Well for MKs & TCKs - Transition Part II

Ask adult TCKs about the most challenging transition of their lives, and they'll most likely say, "...
Read More..

Singing and Living in Harmony Singing and Living in Harmony

Harmony and unity are costly, yet very worthwhile. It is SO worth it. In the long run we accomplish...
Read More..

12 Weird Things about Living in Canada 12 Weird Things about Living in Canada

Here are 12 weird things about living in Canada...from the perspectives of MKs (Missionary Kids) & ...
Read More..

Choosing Home Choosing Home

Ask any Third Culture Kid (TCK) where they are from, and the expected answer is, “I don’t know.”  ...
Read More..

Walking by Faith Walking by Faith

After all, isn't it God himself who provides us with a sincere and strong faith in Him? What does i...
Read More..

PRe-Boot 2020 PRe-Boot 2020

Introducing PRe-Boot from the MORE Network!
Read More..

Why Missions Fail without Collaboration Why Missions Fail without Collaboration

We cannot afford to work alone. We accomplish far more, and the results are amazingly better, when ...
Read More..

Together IS Better Together IS Better

Why should mission organizations work together? Working together has its challenges. However, we ca...
Read More..

Praying for Missionaries, Mission Leaders, & Mission Supporters Praying for Missionaries, Mission Leaders, & Mission Supporters

Please join us in praying for Missionaries, Mission Leaders & Mission Supporters during the COVID-1...
Read More..

Welcome Home! Or maybe not? Welcome Home! Or maybe not?

What can churches do to care for their missionaries who have returned back to Canada? Returning to ...
Read More..

Praying for MKs during a Crisis Praying for MKs during a Crisis

How can we pray for Missionary Kids (MKs) during a crisis like COVID-19. Read on for insights from ...
Read More..

Before I Started Something New... Before I Started Something New...

When Diane and her family were transitioning from overseas ministry in Peru back to a Canada, there...
Read More..

Wilderness Reboot: Charas Story Wilderness Reboot: Chara's Story

ReBoot Promo Video: Chara's Story
Read More..

Full Circle Gratitude Full Circle Gratitude

30+ years ago I was a Graduate Student. One of my housemates was a teacher, and a very even- t...
Read More..

ReBoot Promo - Evans Story ReBoot Promo - Evan's Story

ReBoot Promo Video: Evan's Story
Read More..

A Song of Gratitude A Song of Gratitude

Psalm 30 is a song of praise, a song of dedication. God gives us life, experiences, and He rescues ...
Read More..

Gratitude Writing Gratitude Writing

Gratitude writing can be beneficial for your life. Find out more about incorporating this practice ...
Read More..

The Value of Debriefing The Value of Debriefing

Have you ever been blindsided by memories or emotions of an experience that happened years ago? Oi-...
Read More..

Is Competition a Biblical Value? Is Competition a Biblical Value?

One Sunday morning in the church where I pastored, a family came to me and shared how some of their...
Read More..

Wilderness ReBoot: Through the Eyes of an MK Wilderness ReBoot: Through the Eyes of an MK

MKs experience huge transitions in their lives with the biggest one being their move to Canada. The...
Read More..

MORE Network MORE Network

The MORE Network exists to bolster, strengthen and encourage Canadian Missionaries and their child...
Read More..

...

The Importance of Community
Agreement on all aspects of life and ministry are not a requirement for community. In fact, strong relationships are built on healthy dialogue, disagreement, and mutual respect. God calls us far beyond comfortable relat...
Read more...
What’s Next? The Future We Were Not Looking For...
Learning to be resilient in 2021 Mission Life. How COVID has changed plans for missionaries, the impact of living through the “in between” & ideas for walking through this experience in community.
Read more...
When Missionaries’ Kids Become Adults – What’s Next?
As the years pass living in my home country of Canada, I have sensed a growing disconnection from my TCK (Third Culture Kid) background. My second, third, and fourth homes across the globe are more distant than they’ve ...
Read more...
Coming Soon: MORE Network Resource Library
MORE Network Resource Library ... Coming Soon to a Computer Screen Near You!
Read more...
Katie's Story
The story of a Missionary Kid who came to know Jesus at a ReBoot Retreat. 
Read more...
Virginia's Story
This is Virginia's story of how she came into relationship with the Lord!
Read more...
 

 

2 - 7201 72 Street Delta BC V4G 1M5