Organized and Closed Churches | Nazarene Presence in the Gulf Coast Megaregion (1907-2017)
The megaregion causes some difficulty in trying to find a way to get from one end to the other. It doesn't go quite as far as Tallahasee hugging the coastline around Panama City in the east. The megaregion straggles I-10 toward Houston with a divergence toward Shreveport along I-49. And, then at Houston, while encompassing this huge city that anchors not one but two megaregions, dips down highways 59 and 77 toward Corpus Christi and the Texas-Mexico border from McAllen/Reynosa and Brownsville/Matamoros. This place can be traversed in a 3 hour and 30 minute flight or by road in 15 hours and over 1,000 miles.
This megaregion will cause some difficulty in determining which churches to study. It contains parts of six Nazarene districts. It was difficult to determine where to make the cut-off. I decided to stay true to the eastern and western extent of the megaregion. Therefore, Tallahassee is not included in the east and most of Houston west of the coastline is left to the Texas Triangle research. The northern edge follows highway 84 from Dothan, Georgia, north of Hattiesburg, Mississippi through Alexandria, Louisiana (including the churches northward along I-49 and in the vicinity of Shreveport) to Nagadoches/Woodville, Texasa
314 churches have been started and/or organized in this geographic region. About one-third remain active (108).
The most churches organized in any single year was 1941 with nine. Two of them are still active.
Fifty-nine churches were started or organized in the 1940s. Fifteen (15) are still active.
52 active churches were organized since 1950.
54 active churches were organized prior to 1950.
Churches still active that were started or organized in the 1950s - 6
. . . in the 1960s - 4
. . . in the 1970s - 3
. . . in the 1980s - 5
. . . in the 1990s - 3
Churches still active that were started or organized in the 1940s - 15
. . . in the 1930s - 18
. . . in the 1920s - 17
. . . in the 1910s - 4
One-quarter (24%) of the churches in this megaregion were started since 2010.
Of the 314 churches started or organized, 66% (206) have been closed. There was only one year when ten or more churches were closed (ten in 1957), just a consistent decline, almost from the first decade.
About one-sixth (17%, 35) of churches closed within two years.
Forty-five percent (45%, 92) of the churches closed within seven years.
Fifty-eight percent (58%, 119) closed within twelve years.
One-third (33%, 66) closed with at least 20 years of active ministry.
Churches closing spiked in the 1950s with a steady increase starting again in the 1990s.
85 churches have closed since 1990. Or, forty-one percent of the total (206).
Twenty-four (24) churches closed after fifty years of activity ministry.
It was between the years 2000 to 2018 that fifteen (15) of these half-century old churches were closed.
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