Just How Small Are Most Congregations?

Recently the Presbyterian Church (USA) released information about the distribution of its congregations by size.  The chart below provides the data in a manner that clearly displays the prevalence of small congregations. Put differently, 51.9% have 100 or fewer members 83.7% have 300 or fewer members 3.6% have 800 or more members So What? Since completing my education I have served exclusively in mainline congregations with well over 800 members, including a PC (USA) parish. Read More …

Returning to Parish Ministry

After my first time away from parish ministry since the early days of seminary, I will be returning to that role effective May 1 when I  assume the role of Director of Adult Education at Naples United Church of Christ.  Some of my regular readers may be familiar with that name as I have written several times about my volunteer leadership experiences in this community of faith, especially in leading worship (i.e. sermon manuscript or other recent materials: 1, 2, 3, 4).  NUCC is a growing parish Read More …

What the Church Is and What it Should Be

Jason Fairbanks, pastor of First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in Lake Worth, Florida, recently wrote a series of posts on his blog about what the church is and what it should be.  In making his case for what the church should be he offered the wisdom given him by his father: A church is a hospital for those that find themselves hurting and on our doorstep. It is these that we have the opportunity to receive and to love. A church is a greenhouse for those interested in Read More …

The Economic Worth of a Congregation

David O'Reilly's  Philadelphia Inquirer article, A Study Asks: What's a Church's Economic Worth?, explores the findings of a recent study investigating the economic worth of  select local congregations in Philadelphia.  The research was conducted last summer by Partners for Sacred Places and  Ram Cnaan, professor of social welfare at the University of Pennsylvania. In additional to chairing the doctoral program in social welfare, Cnaan (pictured at right) serves as the Associate Dean for Read More …