Comparative Statistics 2002 - Highlights for 2002 — Why So Many Vacant Pulpits? A Look At The Numbers

—Jack Marcum, coordinator, research services

Conventional wisdom in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) holds that there is currently a shortage of ministers — how else to explain the growing number of congregations without pastors? There is some truth in this viewpoint, but only some; the full story is more complex. As I will describe in this essay, the situation is less a shortage of ministers than a coming together of related trends that result in a growing number of very small congregations with limited financial resources at the same time that dual careers and other personal considerations have made ministers without calls more selective in their searches.

See the tables for this report:

  1. PC(USA) Congregations and Membership 1992-2002
  2. Distribution of PC(USA) Congregations by Church Membership Size and Synod — 2002
  3. PC(USA) Membership by Region and State/Territory — 2002
  4. Membership Gains and Losses of PC(USA) Synods and Presbyteries — 2002
  5. PC(USA) Congregations with One-Fifth or More Minority Racial/Ethnic Membership by Synod — 2002
  6. Fifteen Largest PC(USA) Congregations Based on Membership Size — 2002
  7. Descriptive Statistics of PC(USA) Ministers
  8. PC(USA) Ministers by Call and Synod — 2002
  9. Number and Percent of Active PC(USA) Ministers by Call and Gender — 1997-2002
  10. PC(USA) Membership, Total Contributions, and Local Program and Local Mission Information By Synod and Presbytery — 2001 and 2002
  11. PC(USA) Congregational Receipts — 2001-2002
  12. PC(USA) Congregational Expenditures — 2001-2002
  13. PC(USA) Synod and Presbytery Rankings Based on Per Member Validated Mission Expenditures — 2002
  14. Race/Ethnicity and Gender of PC(USA) Members, Elders, Deacons and Ministers — 2002
  15. Number of Congregations, How They Are Served, Giving Information, and Worship Attendance by Church Membership Size — 2002

List of Figures:

  1. Total Number and Number of Very Small Congregations
  2. Number of Total and Very Small Congregations without Pastors
  3. Number of Ministers by Types of Call
  4. Ministers Ordained and Retiring in Each Year
Download PDF

(126.0 KB)

  1. Comparative Statistics 2008 is online at: We're in the process of posting Comparative Statistics 2009. If you need specific information, please call us: 888-728-7228 ext. 2040.

    by Deborah Bruce

    August 25, 2010

  2. Why can't I find these statistics for any year other than 2002? Is there a later set? Thanks.

    by Roberta KIdd

    August 25, 2010

Leave a comment