Australia

Immigration: Threat or challenge to Australia's future?

Religion in Australia 1900-2012.jpg Australia's population is on the rise and growing faster than the rest of the developed world. Faster even than India.

We're having babies and we're drawing in immigrants from around the globe.

A spin-off of immigration is the growth in the number of people of other faiths. Some see this as a threat to our Christian heritage, such as it is.

I prefer to see it as an opportunity, as God brings the world to Australia.

Note the decline in Protestantism. Mainly due to the collapse of the Protestant mainline β€” the Uniting Church and non-Evangelical Anglicans.

Thanks to reader Tas for the heads up on the ABS stats.

The Aussie boom continues

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Australia's population is about to tick past the 23 million mark as the country continues to grow at the fastest rate in the developed world.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics population counter will tick over to 23 million at 9.57pm. Social researchers say the milestone baby will - statistically - be a boy called Jack. Odds suggest his mother will be 31, his father 33 and he will live in western Sydney.

Our annual population growth rate of 1.7 per cent - 1048 people per day, or the equivalent of a new Gold Coast every 19 months - is the fastest of any OECD country. The US is growing at 0.9 per cent, and Britain at just 0.6 per cent.

Australia's population growth is even outstripping countries with traditionally high birth rates, such as India on 1.4 per cent.

Demographers say it is migration, rather than an elevated birth rate, that is the main driver spurring Australia's growth.

Net overseas migration accounted for 60 per cent of Australia's population increase last year.

In 1918, Australia's population was just 5 million. It passed 10 million in 1959, 15 million in 1982, and 20 million in 2003. While a lesser contributor than migration, births still hit a record high last year, surpassing 300,000 for the first time. Australia recorded twice as many births (303,600) as deaths (149,100). By 2028 there will be more people aged over 60 than under 20.

Full details.

The turnaround of the Australian Christian Churches

hillsong.jpg For the first forty years of its existence the number of ACC* attenders and churches grew steadily. Something changed in the late 1970s and the movement took off.

Attendances grew from 9,446 people to 215,000 between 1977-2007 β€” a staggering 2276%. The number of churches grew from 152 to 1120 β€” or 736%.

Despite this history, the number of ACC churches has recently fallen β€” from 1133 in 2008, to 1073 in 2011.

If the number of ACC churches continues to shrink, so will attendances.

What could be at the heart of this dramatic turnaround?

The ACC may be suffering from is the β€œfailure of success.” In their early stages, movements risk everything for the cause they believe in. Success can change movements. They become risk averse. They have attained a place in society, they have resources, their clergy are increasingly educated and respected. They have more to lose.

In a plateaued movement, the next generation of leaders would prefer to be on the staff of a large successful church, than take the risk of planting a new church. Larger churches would prefer to reproduce what they know works, rather than risk planting new churches.

Growing something bigger is safer than starting something new. Success is measured by the size of a church, rather than the number of generations of new churches it has produced.

The challenge for the ACC is to make an innovative return to the best of its traditions . . .

*The Australian Christian Churches was formally known as the Assemblies of God in Australia

The turnaround of the Australian Christian Churches

hillsong.jpg For the first forty years of its existence the number of ACC* attenders and churches grew steadily. Something changed in the late 1970s and the movement took off.

Attendances grew from 9,446 people to 215,000 between 1977-2007 β€” a staggering 2276%. The number of churches grew from 152 to 1120 β€” or 736%.

Despite this history, the number of ACC churches has recently fallen β€” from 1133 in 2008, to 1073 in 2011.

If the number of ACC churches continues to shrink, so will attendances.

What could be at the heart of this dramatic turnaround?

The ACC may be suffering from is the β€œfailure of success.” In their early stages, movements risk everything for the cause they believe in. Success can change movements. They become risk averse. They have attained a place in society, they have resources, their clergy are increasingly educated and respected. They have more to lose.

In a plateaued movement, the next generation of leaders would prefer to be on the staff of a large successful church, than take the risk of planting a new church. Larger churches would prefer to reproduce what they know works, rather than risk planting new churches.

Growing something bigger is safer than starting something new. Success is measured by the size of a church, rather than the number of generations of new churches it has produced.

The challenge for the ACC is to make an innovative return to the best of its traditions . . .

*The Australian Christian Churches was formally known as the Assemblies of God in Australia