Changing views on religion

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.  -- In an interview Pope Francis says he wants to focus less on the rules about abortion, same-sex couples and contraception and instead work on making the Catholic Church a more welcoming place for everyone.

As Pope Francis comments on the future of the Catholic Church in a changing culture, Protestant leaders are also dealing with changes. Many Protestants have been moving toward non-denominational churches and mega churches.

"I think it's that balance of creating avenues for people to connect with God," said Pastor Whitman Toland of C3 Greensboro, a non-denominational church." Jesus stepped out of heaven and became one of us in order to reach us and often we find religion and structure, denominations and at times Jesus can get lost in that."

Mega churches, large member churches including some connected with denominations, are drawing more crowds thanks to their ability to offer more convenient worship services, classes, even daycare and gyms.

"People are more app to go looking for other churches that respond to their needs than they might have been several years ago," said Bill Leonard, professor of church history and Baptist studies at Wake Forest University Divinity School. "The challenge for the church is to find ways to both respond to and speak to these continuing needs of people in a culture that is constantly in transition."

Research shows 1 out of 5 Americans now consider themselves unaffiliated when it comes to denominations. The ratio is lower, 1 out of 3, when it comes to younger Americans.

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