Monday, January 08, 2007

The FACTs on church growth

Among the findings in the new FACTs on Growth report:

* Congregations that change worship format and style are more likely to grow. More than half the congregations that use contemporary styles of worship have experienced substantial growth since 2000. Frequency is important as well: The more worship services a congregation holds, the more likely it is to have grown.

* Congregations located in new suburbs are more likely to experience growth. But surprisingly the second best area for growth is the downtown of metropolitan areas.

* Congregations that have experienced major conflict are quite likely to have declined in attendance. The strongest correlate of growth is the absence of serious conflict.

* Congregations that have started or maintained a website in the past year are most likely to grow. The effort to have a website indicates that the congregation is outward looking and willing to change by non-traditional means.

* While most congregations in America are composed of a single racial/ethnic group, those that are multi-racial are most likely to have experienced strong growth in worship attendance.

* More important than theological orientation is the religious character of the congregation and clarity of mission and purpose. Growing churches are clear about why they exist and about what they are to be doing – “purpose-driven growth.”

* Congregations that involve children in worship are more likely to experience significant growth. Also, important to growth is the ability of congregations to attract young adults and children with families.

* Almost all congregations say they want to grow, but it takes intentionality and action for growth to occur. Congregations that developed a plan to recruit members in the last year were more likely to grow than congregations that had not. Particularly helpful in achieving growth are sponsorship of a program or event to attract non-members or the existence of support groups.

You can read the whole thing here. The report was written by C. Kirk Hadaway, Director of Research at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.

1 comment:

Timotheos Prologizes said...

According to the denominational report for the Episcopal Church that went along with the major report, 93% of Episcopal congregations reported having disagreements or conflicts in the last five years (up from 86% in 2000). Also, 37% of Episcopal congregations reported "very serious" conflict (up from 32% in 2000).