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New FACT Survey Reports on Decade of Change in Congregations

There are several new Faith Communities Today survey reports.

You can find the collection of FACT reports on this webpage http://www.ucc.org/evangelism/fact/f-a-c-t.html .

You can also see the 11 FACTS on Vitality on this webpage http://www.ucc.org/evangelism/fact/

The newest reports have been released from the total national study of all denominations/traditions involved.

1. A Decade of Change in American Congregations: 2000 – 2010
http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/sites/faithcommunitiestoday.org/files/Decade%20of%20Change%20Final.pdf

This is a rather sobering report that shows a decade of decline and an erosion of the strengths of American congregations.

The FACT surveys from 2000 & 2010 show that the decade brought:
• A continued increase in innovative, adaptive worship
o Innovative and contemporary worship can be catalysts for increased spiritual vitality and growth
• A surprisingly rapid adoption of electronic technologies
• Mission-oriented programs declined in ‘liberal’ Protestantism and increased in Evangelical Protestantism
• Two of every three congregations in 2010 had experienced conflict in at least one of four key areas in the past five years
• A twist in the historical pattern of religious involvement in support of polical action and election process
o Political action declined among ‘oldline’ Protestantism, but increased among Evangelical Protestantism
• A steep drop in financial health
• Aging memberships
• Fewer persons in the pews
• Decreasing spiritual vitality
o Somewhat surprisingly, very liberal congregations showed higher percentage of spiritual vitality

Perhaps the most disconcerting information is the comparison of the UCC with other denominations in the appendix.
o UCC was in the lowest third of 27 denominations/traditions in terms of congregations with high spiritual vitality
o UCC was in the lowest third of 27 denominations/traditions in congregations with innovative & contemporary worship
o UCC was the 2nd highest (only behind the UPUSA) in percentage of congregations with 33% or more members older than 65

2. American Congregations Reach out to other Faith Traditions: A Decade of Change 2000-2010
http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/sites/faithcommunitiestoday.org/files/American_Congregations_Reach_Out.pdf

This report was released right before the 10 year remembrance of 9/11 showing that since that time more US congregations are involved in inter-faith efforts,  however the number are still small, but with Oldline Protestantism being more involved in interfaith activities than Evangelical Protestantism.

3. The Compassionate Congregations
http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/sites/faithcommunitiestoday.org/files/Insights_Into_Compassionate_Congregation.pdf

Congregations involved in social outreach programs often discover multiple benefits: the potential for faster growth, an enhanced sense of vitality, and the satisfaction of expressing the congregation’s compassion through direct service to those in need. This publication offers research, tips and resources to help clergy, seminarians, and congregational leaders to become more actively engaged in compassionate social ministry.

You can find more Leadership Insights and FACT reports at http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/

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