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Latest LCC statistics show dip in membership, rebound in number of adults confirmed

May 4, 2018 4 Comments

Increase in Bible study class attendance also reported


CANADA – The 2017 statistics for Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) have been released and indicate that membership continues to decrease to just over 56,000 members.

In 2017, LCC counted a baptized membership of 56,620, down 2.8% from the year previous, when baptized membership was at 58,216. Confirmed membership has also declined, sitting at 43,494 in 2017 (down 2.7% from 44,666 members in 2016). LCC’s baptized membership has been in uninterrupted decline since 1999, while confirmed membership has been in uninterrupted decline since 2001.

Blue represents baptized membership and red represents confirmed membership. (Click graph for a larger image).

LCC President Timothy Teuscher says “In Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation of 1518 he contrasted what is called the theology of glory versus the theology of the cross. Such are the lenses through which we would do well to look at the 2017 statistics of our synod”

The number of adults received into membership in 2017 increased by 6.3% to 189, compared to a year prior when 177 adults were received. The number of children baptized held steady in 2017 at 645 and while the number of juniors confirmed in 2017 dipped to 382 from 419 in 2016 they are still greater than 2014’s record low of 370.

Average weekly attendance at congregations also continued its decline in 2017, down to 57 from 60 the year prior. Average communion attendance, remained steady with confirmed members of LCC communing an average of seven times in 2017 for the third year.

President Teuscher continues, “Instead of bemoaning the declining numbers and of then succumbing to the temptation of jettisoning our Christ-centered and Bible-based heritage of the cross in favour of non-biblical and cross-less efforts to supposedly build and grow the church, consider for a moment the ‘statistics’ that come from the lips of our Lord Jesus Himself.” Quoting, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).

Blue represents children baptized, red represents juniors confirmed, and green represents adults baptized/confirmed. (Click graph for a larger image).

The number of congregations holding Sunday School classes in 2017 dipped slightly to 177 (from 180 the year prior) with the number of pupils also dropping to 1,611 compared to 1,777 in 2016. The number of congregations holding Vacation Bible Schools was also down to 101 from 109 the year prior, likewise with a drop in over-all attendance to 4,502 in 2017 from 4,807 in 2016. While weekday religion class attendance dropped in 2017 to 1,336, reported attendance at Bible Study classes, however, rose to 1,815 compared to 1,633 a year earlier.
In 2017, Lutheran Church–Canada counted 298 congregations. 118 congregations did not send in statistical reports for the 2017 year (compare with 94 who did not send in reports in 2016). LCC congregations are reminded that statistical reports for the 2018 year must be submitted to LCC by March 31, 2019.

President Teuscher concludes, “It was Albert Einstein, of all people, who put this matter of statistics most succinctly and, surprisingly, even biblically: ‘Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted’”.

In 2014, The Canadian Lutheran published an in-depth analysis of Lutheran Church–Canada’s statistical data and the challenges they represent. “Lutheran Church–Canada in Numbers” situates LCC’s current situation in the context of wider Canadian society and further suggests steps that may be taken to begin reversing these troubling trends. Read the article for more information.



  • Carl Vehse said:

    According to the Quote Investigator site, “Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted,” William Bruce Cameron, and not Albert Einstein, should be credited with the quoted statement. The quote is from page 13, in Cameron’s 1963 book, Informal Sociology, a casual introduction to sociological thinking.

  • The ABC District President – Apologizes? – ANO / Lutheran Watch said:

    […] characterized people that had left the church. The statement in question was discussing a recent report of people leaving the Lutheran […]

  • Cliff said:

    Carl, what are you doing at this site? Correction as usual, now you are a cross border commentator?

  • Carl Vehse said:


    Just wondering how the LC-C determines membership and other numbers and percentage changes in various categories when 40% of the congregations did not provide their data in 2017 and 30% of the congregations did not provide data in 2016.

    Are data from only consistently reporting congregations used, with a final adjustment factor used to give estimated LCC-wide values? How is the bias determined (or avoided) in such an approach?

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