Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As church attendance declines, what does that mean for the future of the Black church and its influence?

An Ohio Historical Marker stands before a brick church.
Bill Rinehart
An historical marker in front of the First Baptist Church in Cumminsville.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most influential civil rights champions of our time, whose leadership and example inspired activism and freedom movements around the globe. Like many of his contemporaries, Dr. King's power behind the podium was first developed from the pulpit of the Black church.

Historically, the Black church served as both a place of worship and a hub of development for generations of America's most influential Black leaders, artists and thought leaders, when those opportunities for advancement were denied elsewhere. Yet in recent years, church attendance has declined in the U.S. across faiths, including the Black church. How will this decline impact the future of the Black church?

On Cincinnati Edition, we discuss the history of the Black church, why attendance has dwindled and how three local pastors are shifting to attract and retain a new generation back to the pews.


  • Rev. Mike Scruggs, Sr., senior pastor of Light of the World Church
  • Rev. Darnell Lee, Jr., chief executive officer of Darnell Lee Ministries 
  • Rev. David Childs, Ph.D., pastor at First Antioch Baptist Church, associate professor of Social Studies Education and History, Northern Kentucky University 

Ways to listen to this show:

  • Tune in live at noon ET M-F. Call 513-419-7100 or email to have your voice heard on today’s topic.
  • Catch the replay on 91.7 WVXU and 88.5 WMUB at 8 p.m. ET M-F.
  • Listen on-demand. Audio for this segment will be uploaded to this page by 4 p.m. ET., or subscribe to our podcast.
Stay Connected