2015 STATE of the CHURCH REPORT: American Congregations – Thriving and Surviving

American Congregations 2015 is the introductory report on the Faith Communities Today 2015 (FACT 2015) national survey of congregations. FACT2015 is the fifth survey in a series beginning in 2000, and replicated in 2005, 2008 and 2010. This report focuses on an initial look at core trends across the survey series and a first look at new sets of questions introduced in the 2015 survey. Several focused reports described in the current report will be released early next year to explore these new topical sets of questions. The forthcoming reports are also listed on the back cover.

The entire FACT survey series includes responses from over 32,000 randomly sampled congregations in the United States from all denominations and faith traditions. The FACT2015 survey contains responses from 4,436 congregations. The survey covers the characteristics, programs and vital signs of congregations as reported by a key informant in the congregation, typically the senior clergy leader. Sample and survey methodology are described in more detail in the appendix, as is the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership which conducts the survey series.

When we last probed the dynamics and changing nature of American congregations in 2010 we found a number of pockets of vitality and innovation, but also a steep drop in financial health related to the 2007/08 recession, decreasing numbers of persons in the pews and decreasing spiritual vitality. The overriding conclusion of the FACT2010 report: American congregations enter the second decade of the new century a bit less healthy than they were at the turn of the century. Against this backdrop the last five years captured in the 2015 survey might be characterized as: More of the same, but a little less so and with a few interesting twists. The details of this assessment are more fully developed in the following sections of this report…

Click here for the FULL 2015 STATE of the CHURCH REPORT

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