There’s a new survey of 2,525 randomly-sampled American congregations that shows some interesting results. This survey, conducted in 2008 by Faith Communities Today 2008 (FACT 2008), found:
- Less than half of American congregations reported growth in the past five years of two percent or more. This is a decrease from past surveys.
- Only 35 percent of congregations described themselves as spiritual vital and alive.
- Only 36 percent reported having a clear mission.
- Only 19 percent reported excellent financial health.
- Three out of four congregations have experienced conflict in the past five years, especially over styles of worship.
- 44 percent of congregations with traditional styles of worship reported growth.
- 60 percent of those with a more contemporary style of worship experienced growth.
What is survey says to me is this: We have to work hard at staying fresh, relevant, unified, and facing forward. Worship, worship styles, and worship services must be attractive to the up-and-coming generation whom we’re trying to reach. Trends are not traps. Not all change is good; but never changing is fatal. We’re to be ministries, not museums. We’re to be firm in our faith, but fexible in our flightplans.