Are Americans losing their religion?

There's a major shift taking place with religion in America, and it's having an impact on the number of people going to church.

Faith across the Grand Strand and Pee Dee is as diverse as the people who live here, but our area is not immune to a national trend of more people losing their religion.

TJ Goff is the worship leader at Wellspring Community Church, a relatively new church that meets at the Myrtle Beach YMCA every Sunday. He says politics may be a factor. "It's no secret that some churches have decided to make stands against things, to be more involved in politics and social issues and a lot of times, people don't want to hear that," said Goff.

But church pastor Trey Kelly says it's more than that. "I think one reason church attendance might be declining is that people don't think it's relevant for their life anymore." said Kelly.

And the numbers seem to back that up. 28 percent of American adults have left the faith in which they were raised and for the first time, one third of Americans under 30 do not identify with a religion, according to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

In 1972, only 7 percent of Americans did not identify with a religion, according to Pew research.

"Any church that is declining, I think, is because they're refusing to change the methods of what they're doing," said Kelly.

He said churches need to stay current and relevant, and they can't wait for the flock to come to them. Social media is how Kelly says he can reach the most people. "Social media for us is going where people are. People are on Facebook, on Twitter and on the web."

Wellspring's high tech, casual setting doesn't have the traditional look of nearby House of New Beginnings. Although their services are different, the message is much the same.

Pastor David Barr started the church September 2nd and already his congregation is growing. Pastor Barr's wife, Pamelia says many of us are used to traditional church, but she believes God is not about tradition. "We're looking for people who've been broken, that have been wounded, that feel like they don't fit in. Because here, you fit in. You don't have to go and buy anything, come as you are," said Barr.

Barr says the church should be about genuine realness, a sentiment echoed by Kelly. "Our goal at Wellspring was to create a church that people who didn't go to church would actually like to attend. That they would feel welcomed and included."

The number of Americans who attend church "seldom or never" has climbed from 25 percent in 2003, to 29 percent today according to the Pew survey.

Catholics make up the largest single faith group in America. Their numbers have held steady through the years at about 22-percent of the population.

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