"The American Church in Crisis"

by David T. Olson

The American Church in Crisis provides shocking statistical evidence of the church's current state. By Dave Olson, published by Zondervan.

Groundbreaking research based on a national database of over 200,000 churches reveals that the overall population growth rate far outpaces the church’s rate of growth. What does this mean for you, your church, and the future of Christianity in North America ? The American Church in Crisis offers unprecedented access to data that helps you understand the state of the church today. This book not only paints a realistic picture that confirms hunches and explodes myths, but provides insight into how the church must be renewed to reach our changing world with the hope of the gospel.

Hardback - $19.95 - 240 pages - Published by Zondervan

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"The American Church in Crisis is a monumental work, both in its accurate, near alarming analysis, and its brilliant clarion call to engage our society with the 'full-orbed' gospel of Jesus."

Lon Allison, Director, The Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College

 “In this monumental work, David Olson spent years collecting and understanding data on hundreds of thousands of congregations. The result is a gift to the American Church. Steeped with insight on how to proceed, we must absorb the wisdom in this book, and use it to grow the Kingdom.”

Dr. Michael O. Emerson, Professor of Sociology, Rice University

“Not only a good reference for reporters, academics and analysts, but also an outstanding resource for pastors as well. Written in plain language and full of informative charts and figures, The American Church in Crisis paints a fascinating, multi-faceted picture of the church today.”

Dave Travis, Managing Director, Leadership Network

“The American Church in Crisis is a ‘must read’ for every leader in the church, particularly lay leaders. It superbly describes the problem, and points the way to real solutions.”

Paul Johnson, Senior Vice President, Baptist General Conference

“David Olson has done a remarkable job of researching the church in America. In my opinion his research is the most helpful that I have received. I recommend his book highly.”

Alan Andrews, U.S. Director, The Navigators

 “David Olson’s expert study of the state of the American church is eye opening. Other more expressive words also come to mind—jolting, staggering, astounding!”

Dr. Gary L. McIntosh, Professor, Christian Ministry & Leadership, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

 “David Olson has given the American Church the gift of truth and hope in one powerful package. This book is a wonderfully balanced presentation of “just the facts” woven skillfully together with colorful metaphors that lead the reader to a clear understanding of the dangers and the opportunities facing the Body of Christ in the United States. It is a “must read” for Christian leaders.”

Steve Pike, Director of Church Planting and Development, Assemblies of God

At long last we have data on church membership and attendance that is not based on telephone interviews! This book is packed with data on trends in churchgoing that spans the main traditions. It will be a constant reference as I meet with church leaders across North America.

Dr. Eddie Gibbs, Senior Professor, Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Intercultural Studies

“David Olson has done an excellent job through his research to cause the American Church to pause and carefully examine its future. Most of us have lived with a worldview that is not only inaccurate, but dangerous. If we are going to leave our children an America with a clear Christian message, we must immediately responds to David’s conclusion. If this book doesn’t wake up the church, nothing will.”

Steve Johnson, President, Vision360

The American Church in Crisis is a reality check that provides an honest look at the state of the church in America. Employing thorough research that yield eye-opening statistics, Dave Olson gives us a realistic snapshot of the state of the American church.  Every pastor, church leader, denominational leader, or Christian concerned about the future of the church in the United States needs to read this book.

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary

Dave Olson sees crisis as opportunity, and this book is both accessible and invaluable to churches that truly seek to serve Christ's mission in the crisis of cultural change.

Glenn R. Palmberg, President of the Evangelical Covenant Church of America 

Armed with helpful statistical data, this volume offers a clear picture of the changing landscape of the North American ministry context and its implications, making it an invaluable tool for church planters and pastors.

Peter T. Cha. Associate Professor, Pastoral Theology Department, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Finally, an authentic analysis of the state of the church in America based on pure, statistical data and not random opinion polls. Dave Olson and The American Church Research Project not only provide thorough, concise, and accurate synthesis, but excellent evaluation, introspection, and action steps for 21st century church revitalization. A must read for pastors, church leaders, seminary students, and denominational leaders!

Dr. Reggie R. Ogea, Associate Dean and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Associate Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Ministry, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary




"The facts don't lie! With profound research and unusually wise analysis, Dave Olson has compiled a compelling portrait of the American church, and her future. As a new church planter, I am all ears and commend this voice that all might listen."

John Teter, author, “Get the Word Out”, “Jesus and the HipHop Prophets”

There are many who believe that the church in America has been lulled asleep by it own press and endless activities to build itself up.  Dave Olson, with his relentless pursuit of truth, offers a wake-up call to a church that has fallen asleep.  The American Church in Crisis offers a clarion call to all followers of Jesus to reexamine our motives, methods and mission.  In my humble opinion, this will be the most quoted book in the next 5 years.

Gary Rohrmayer, Director, Baptist General Conference (BGC) Church Planting

"The way forward is etched by truth and deepened by hope. You'll find both here. Olson's book is a courageous gift to us all."

Sally Jean Morgenthaler, Emergent Manifesto of Hope

For years I've been referring people to David T. Olson's website, and now his important research is available in book form. The American Church in Crisis will help Christian leaders face uncomfortable truths so they can respond first with prayerful reflection, and then with vigorous, hopeful and faith-inspired action.

Brian McLaren, Author/speaker

"Olson's research, conclusions and action points will enhance strategic thinking for expanding the Kingdom of God via church planting."

Bill Malick, National Director for Church Multiplication for the Christian & Missionary Alliance, Founder of The Church Multiplication Training Center

Dave Olson’s book documenting the state of the church in America provides the most strategic and helpful information available today for church leaders. It is absolutely an essential read.

Dr. Jerry Sheveland, President, Baptist General Conference

David has put together the data and the challenge that every leader of the Christian World must respond to. Now is the time!”

Steve Andrews, Lead Pastor, Kensington Community Church, Troy, MI


David Olson’s The American Church in Crisis is a wake up call to the American institutional church.  Olson’s research shows that, in spite of some appearances, all is not well with established churches.  If the church is going to make a difference in contemporary culture, something must change.  This book begins to stir the missional imagination of what the church must become. I am enthusiastic about this book.

Dr. Kurt Fredrickson, Director, Doctor of Ministry Program, Fuller Theological Seminary

"The statistics of The American Church in Crisis will rock you and it should. For me, I'll not soon forget Dave's observation of the affluence of American churches especially. He noted how the evangelical church in the early 20th century 'gave up much of it's wealth and social status so that it could be faithful to the gospel (p.82) .. Dave then posits how the American church is growing the fastest in zip codes that are more affluent. . . Ouch! Get ready for some painful numbers. . . the American Church needs this type of wake up call."

Dave Gibbons, Lead Pastor, NewSong, Irvine, CA

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