Does your congregation have more or less members and attenders than the average congregation in the United States? Is worship in United States congregations becoming more formal or less formal? What percent of congregations in the United States make their buildings available to recent immigrant populations for worship? What percent of clergy hold jobs outside the congregation?
These and many more demographic questions are answered through data collected by the National Congregations Survey. The Survey is housed at Duke University and is led by Mark Chaves.
Did you know that about 30% of clergy wear a special garment during worship? Or about 24% of congregations encourage attendees to bring their own Bibles to worship. About 36% of U.S. congregations have a youth minister.
This kind of data isn’t going to solve a particular pressing challenge of your congregation. Yet, having data will help you understand the context that surrounds the important questions you are asking. The data from the National Congregations Survey is easy to access and easy to understand.
It is worth knowing about. It is worth using when you want to see how your congregation stands in relationship to other congregations about any number of issues. Since the survey has been repeated over time, you can also see if there are trends developing about the issue that interests you.
You can learn about the National Congregations Study by following this link: http://thecrg.org/resources/national-congregations-study.