“Presbytery Ten-Year Trends” now available online
Reports provide a bird's eye view of a presbytery's health and direction
January 22, 2010
Research Services now provides its popular Presbytery Ten-Year Trends report online, in addition to the existing printed format.
The report, which provides the compiled data from the Session Annual Statistical Report for each congregation in the presbytery over the past 10 years, is highly valued by presbytery executives, as well as synod and congregational leaders.
“I've used Presbytery Ten-Year Trends in work with eight presbyteries and a synod,” said Tim Rogers-Martin, executive associate pastor at North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. “These trends give a bird’s eye view of a presbytery’s health and direction — and they let you delve more deeply in areas of particular concern.” Rogers-Martin has used the reports to select the top 10 churches within a presbytery, in terms of their percentage of mission giving, change in worship attendance, number of adult baptisms, or increase in membership, and then recruit some or all of them to share best practices with other churches.
Peter Nord, executive in the Presbytery of Baltimore is using the reports as part of the presbytery’s re-visioning process as it discerns trends within the presbytery and seeks to provide resources to individual congregations. “We are eager to be able to access these reports electronically and to have them more accessible to our members,” said Nord.
In the Presbytery of New Brunswick, the report was used to develop a congregational development strategy. Greg Albert, associate executive presbyter, said, “Because of the report, we know which congregations are in trouble and which are doing well.”
Kansas pastor Dennis Scheibmeir described using the reports to find congregations of similar size and contexts: “I look for congregations that grew significantly in the previous year — so that I can interview the leadership and find clues to what seems to be working well.”
Scheibmeir’s efforts are producing results. “The information gathered from these interviews has served to provide our leadership with ideas and hope. As a result, our membership is up, and attendance has grown a little in each of the last four years — even though we are in a rural area with significant population declines,” said Scheibmeir.
The new service is the result of re-tooling within Research Services that seeks to provide the best data possible, so that the church can make fact-based decisions. “By providing these materials online, Research Services will be able to eliminate the paper costs for congregations and presbyteries that want electronic access to the materials,” said Ida Smith-Williams, associate for research and information. A small fee will still be required for a printed version of the reports.
The reports are available online.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) comprises more than 2 million members in more than 10,000 congregations, and answers Christ’s call to mission and ministry throughout the United States and the world.