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Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

Members and Attendees

March 30th, 2011 No comments

Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27

Are you a member of this church? Would you like to be?

Our denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a website where you can find different types of reports by our Research Services arm. If you’ve ever wondered how many Presbyterians there are, or the number of congregations they belong to, you can go there to find the answers.

Periodically, the folks at Research Services issue a report, and, frankly, most of those are pretty depressing. The number of people worshiping in PC(USA) churches on Sunday, for example, is down by almost 20% from what it was in 1999.

Sometimes, though, the stats aren’t depressing as much as they are interesting. For example, one of those studies showed that smaller churches like ours have a higher ratio of members to worshipers than larger churches do.

Churches our size (50-100) average 64% in attendance each week. So if we had 89 members, then we would expect to have about 57 people attending our worship services. A church 10 times our size, however, would expect a lower percentage (43%) to attend, or about 382 people.

Where are the others? Read more…

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More smaller churches – but not in a good way

February 12th, 2011 No comments

There’s nothing to rejoice over in this report from the PC(USA)’s Research Services unit. Since reunification, the denomination has lost an average of 40,541 members a year (net) and we’re down about a third, from about three million down to a hair over two.

The headline (“Fewer members = smaller congregations”) says what might be the most disturbing thing about our decline. The average congregation has dropped in size from 268 in 1983 to 152 today. In the same period, the median size of a congregation has declined from 195 to 97.

Fully half of our congregations (mine among them) have 100 or fewer members–and that’s members, not worship attenders. God is still in heaven, and Jesus fed a multitude with just five loaves and two fishes, but even so, how many of those congregations are financially viable?