Friday, September 28, 2007

PC(USA) - Research Services - Comparative Statistics 2006

PC(USA) - Research Services - Comparative Statistics 2006:
"... Comparative Statistics 2006 is an opportunity for each of us to see what others are doing. It offers tough reality testing, which may not be comfortable for congregations (or anyone) to do. Of course, statistics do not constitute the total reality, sometimes not even the most important part. But these numbers do provide a variety of windows on church, where money or members or modes of leadership can be compared within and among particular populations. ..."
For those who want statistics, this article points to a series of PDF files that paint a picture of the PC(USA) and its overall decline in numbers. This annual decline seems to have accelerated from about 1% in the mid 1990s t0 around a 2% yearly loss since 2003.

The introduction ends with a statement that "... It is not a question of what Presbyterians are doing wrong, but rather what are others doing right. ..." While this may sound comforting, there are a not insignificant number of loyal Presbyterians who believe that there are systemic flaws in the way the PC(USA) operates, and these need to be acknowledged and addressed. It will do us little good to revamp our worship and Christian education offerings if we can't attract the young families who are crucial to a growing Church.

On the upside, both contributions per member and percentage of the budget allocated for local mission and program are both up significantly.

These reports do not deal with individual congregations, except a list of the 15 largest congregations in the PC(USA). There are, to be sure, congregations that are growing, and these would be a logical resource for ideas on what works in a Reformed context.

We should be willing and able to fix what needs to be fixed, learn from other Christian bodies what needs to be learned, and above all remember Who it is that calls us all together as a Church.

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