While Some Traditional Churches Struggle, Contemporary Options Are Growing

Sep 16, 2019

Not all Jacksonville churches have been affected by the steady drop in church membership nationwide.

WJCT News partner the Jacksonville Daily Record reports that a Gallup poll found 50% of adults belong to some kind of religious institution. That percentage was around 70% since the 1930s until the drop-off started in 2000.

To counter that, some traditional churches are selling off parts of or all of their property.

First Baptist Church in Downtown recently announced it would sell most of its campus to address $37 million in deferred maintenance and declining attendance. South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church is selling part of its property in San Marco.

Churches across the country are “having to be creative to keep and use their space,” said Jeff Brumley, assistant editor at Baptist News Global.

Some Jacksonville churches, often those that offer more contemporary services, are seeing rapid increases in attendance. Instead of selling property, they’re acquiring more.

For some, their buildings differ from traditional structures and are found in shopping centers, warehouses and school auditoriums.

Church of Eleven22 started in 2012, opening its first facility at San Pablo Road and Beach Boulevard in a former Walmart store. Last month, it opened its sixth campus on Fleming Island and plans to expand to North Jacksonville next year, said Pastor Joby Martin.

For an expanded look at how the Church of Eleven22 and other contemporary churches are growing in Jacksonville, see this JaxDailyRecord.com story.