DECISION MAKING & 5 tips for identifying—and avoiding—cognitive bias during a crisis. (And discover more ideas in the #GrowingThePostPandemicChurch book.)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel. While writing my 14th book, “Growing the Post-pandemic Church” I sought to help church leaders discover their unconscious biases that impact their decision-making. Here is a helpful article that defines the major cognitive biases and how you can prevent them from distorting your decisions.

5 tips for identifying—and avoiding—cognitive bias during a crisis: When facing the unknown, you might not even know everything you think you know… by Julie Wright, Public Relations Daily, Sept. 8, 2020.

It’s important for leaders to recognize their biases and take steps to minimize or eliminate them, individually and across their teams…

2. Acknowledge that cognitive bias exists.

Another important step to minimize your cognitive bias is to acknowledge that it exists.

For instance, normalcy bias has compelled many leaders to minimize the threat of the coronavirus with statements like “it’s business as usual” or “it’s important to get students back to the classroom this fall.” Normalcy bias minimizes threat warnings and downplays disaster and its impacts…

Along the same lines, familiarity bias drives people to categorize new experiences or situations along the lines of the familiar rather than evaluating them more deeply. This is what led some leaders to compare COVID-19 to influenza saying, “it’s no worse or different than the seasonal flu.”

Both of these biases indicate a certain level of denial, which is a common first reaction to terrible news.  Avoiding or minimizing biases is critically important during periods of crisis when we are mentally taxed, juggling multiple issues and just plain tired. This is when biases are most likely to color decisions.

3. Equip yourself with tools.

Tools like a crisis plan, evaluation criteria, scoring matrices and even the tried and true checklist can enforce the discipline needed to ensure objective and reasoned decisions and avoid cognitive traps, particularly in a crisis.

Airline pilots and surgeons rely on checklists to ensure bias is kept out of their decision making….

4. Surround yourself with multiple viewpoints.

A diversity of insights and information sources helps to reduce bias.

When you are surrounded by people with different life experiences, professional expertise and beliefs or world views, your decision making will be based on more inputs and become more immune to confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is our tendency to cherry pick information or viewpoints that match our own expectations or experiences…

Sometimes a leader must make a judgment call without the benefit of other viewpoints. In those moments, it’s important not to exhibit overconfidence bias. Overconfidence bias leads to a false sense of skill, talent or self-belief. For leaders, it can be a side-effect to their power and influence. Overconfidence bias shows up in illusions of control, timing optimism, and the desirability effect (i.e. thinking if you desire something, you can make it happen).

5. Learn to spot common cognitive biases…

Anchoring bias. Anchoring refers to using previous information as a reference point for all subsequent information, which can skew a decision-making process. Putting the original full price next to the markdown anchors our original perception of value as being the full price. Against that first piece of information, the sale price looks like a steal. But what if the wholesale cost of the item was first shown? The sale priced wouldn’t look so appealing.

Self-serving bias. Self-serving cognitive bias helps soften the blow to the ego when we make a poor decision by attributing it to poor luck. When things turn out well, though, we attribute it to skill or something else that was directly under our control. The downside to this bias in organizations, teams and leaders is that it does not produce a culture of accountability.

Herd mentality. As social creatures, it is hard to fight herd mentality. When there is consensus or a growing trend or fad, our gut is to move in the same direction as the herd. While this may feel like the path of least resistance or safer, it is a decision behavior based on emotion and not logic.

Loss aversionThis is one of my favorite principles: Avoiding a loss is a greater motivator than gaining a reward. This can lead to missed opportunities driven by risk aversion. You see it on game shows when contestants settle for the cash they’ve earned rather risking it for a much higher reward. Or in organizational cultures where the mentality of “keeping one’s head down” and analyzing things to death before an eventual decision by a committee is the safer route than the perceived riskier route of decisiveness and efficiency.

Reactance bias. While you might think that members of the public who defy face-covering recommendations or requirements are exhibiting overconfidence bias, they are more likely showing reactance bias, which leads to a fear that complying with one request will end in the restriction of future choices or freedoms.

Dunning-Kruger effect. This effect describes poor performers who greatly overestimate their abilities. Put another way, it applies to people who lack the competence to evaluate their own abilities. To overcome the Dunning-Kruger effect, your reports need to recognize their own shortcomings. If you can grow their competence, they will be able to make more realistic self-evaluations.

Narrative fallacy. Like the framing bias, the narrative fallacy bias appeals to our love of a good story. When the story is too good to resist, we get drawn in. Or, when faced with a series of unconnected events, we force them into a cause and effect narrative. It’s something we’ve been doing since before the ancient Greeks explained the sunrise and sunset as the god Helios pulling the sun across the sky in his golden chariot. Fight the urge to impose narratives where no real connection exists and look instead at what the data says.

Hindsight bias. Statements like “I knew it all along” indicate hindsight bias. It’s easy to feel and claim this after the fact, but the danger is that hindsight bias distorts our memories. We were unlikely to have been as confident of the prediction before the event as we appear to be after it. This can lead to overconfidence and a belief that a person can predict the outcomes of future events.

Read more at … https://www.prdaily.com/5-tips-for-identifying-and-avoiding-cognitive-bias-during-a-crisis/

DIVERSITY & Designing a Bias-Free Organization

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As my clients know, I’ve spent 20 years helping churches grow into multiethnic congregations. In fact I wrote a book about how to do it with my friend Mark DeYmaz called reMIX: Transitioning your church to living color (Abingdon Press).

An important part of that transition is to stop doing certain practices that segment your congregation.

Here is a recent interview in the Harvard Business Review with Gardiner Morse on her book “What Works.”

The takeaway can be summed up in these thoughts:

simple changes—from eliminating the practice of sharing self-evaluations to rewarding office volunteerism—can reduce the biased behaviors that undermine organizational performance.”

Here is a portion of the interview …

“Designing a Bias-free Organization” an interview with Gardiner Morse, Harvard Business Review, 7/16.

Do whatever you can to take instinct out of consideration and rely on hard data. That means, for instance, basing promotions on someone’s objectively measured performance rather than the boss’s feeling about them. That seems obvious, but it’s still surprisingly rare.Be careful about the data you use, however. Using the wrong data can be as bad as using no data. Let me give you an example. Many managers ask their reports to do self-evaluations, which they then use as part of their performance appraisal. But if employees differ in how self-confident they are—in how comfortable they are with bragging—this will bias the manager’s evaluations. The more self-promoting ones will give themselves better ratings. There’s a lot of research on the anchoring effect, which shows that we can’t help but be influenced by numbers thrown at us, whether in negotiations or performance appraisals. So if managers see inflated ratings on a self-evaluation, they tend to unconsciously adjust their appraisal up a bit. Likewise, poorer self-appraisals, even if they’re inaccurate, skew managers’ ratings downward. This is a real problem, because there are clear gender (and also cross-cultural) differences in self-confidence. To put it bluntly, men tend to be more overconfident than women—more likely to sing their own praises. One meta-analysis involving nearly 100 independent samples found that men perceived themselves as significantly more effective leaders than women did when, actually, they were rated by others as significantly less effective. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to underestimate their capabilities. For example, in studies, they underestimate how good they are at math and think they need to be better than they are to succeed in higher-level math courses. And female students are more likely than male students to drop courses in which their grades don’t meet their own expectations. The point is, do not share self-evaluations with managers before they have made up their minds. They’re likely to be skewed, and I don’t know of any evidence that having people share self-ratings yields any benefits for employees or their organizations.

But it’s probably not possible to just eliminate all managerial activities that allow biased thinking.


Right. But you can change how managers do these things.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/07/designing-a-bias-free-organization?

DIVERSITY & 41 Maps Of America That Will Surprise You.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve written extensively about the biblical importance of the church becoming the community that breaks down ethnic and cultural walls and fosters reconciliation. To understand the varying cultures in your community look at these maps. They can provide a helpful introduction.

by Denis Tymulis and Rokas LaurinavičI, Bored Panda, 6/25/20.

Most Commonly Spoken Language In The Us After English And Spanish

Most Commonly Spoken Language In The Us After English And Spanish

Its Very Interesting

Its Very Interesting

States With A Smaller Population Than Los Angeles County

States With A Smaller Population Than Los Angeles County

Red And Orange Areas Have Equal Populations

Red And Orange Areas Have Equal Populations

US Watersheds

US Watersheds

Percentage Of People Born Outside The U.S. In Each State

Percentage Of People Born Outside The U.S. In Each State

How America Utilizes Its Land

How America Utilizes Its Land

Use Of The Word “Dang” Across The Continental US

Use Of The Word "Dang" Across The Continental US

U.S. Education Spending Map

U.S. Education Spending Map

Read more at … https://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-usa-maps-facts/

DIVERSITY & Do Your Congregants Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Having researched, written and coached churches on diversity for almost 20 years, I find that sometimes those I coach are challenged to explain the “why” and the “history” behind their beliefs. Ruchika Tulshyan, writing in the Harvard Business Review gives practical steps to embrace when explaining about your beliefs (excerpted below).

Do Your Employees Know Why You Believe in Diversity?

Ruchika Tulshyan, Harvard Business Review, 6/30/20.

… Here are some suggestions for how your team can meaningfully communicate and execute your commitment to anti-bias and dismantling racism:

Do not send communication on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts without explicitly calling out the reasoning for it…

Understand the history of bias and discrimination — which explains how these initiatives and programs are righting past wrongs. While many of us theoretically believe discrimination of an employee because of their race, gender, ability, or other identity is wrong and even illegal, in practice, bias is present in many key decisions made in the workplace. A small but eye-opening example; a 2003 Harvard study found that employers preferred white candidates with a criminal record over Black employees who didn’t have a criminal history. Professional women of color face a number of impediments to hiring and advancement that white women do not…

Invite buy-in and advice from people of color…and listen with humility.

Prioritize anti-racism efforts in-house. Leaders must do the tough work of identifying where bias shows up in their organizations right now — hiring, retention, or advancement of employees of color — and fix those issues before moving to grand gestures that could be misinterpreted as PR stunts…

Show up personally … I do wish more leaders were present and engaged in conversations already taking place right in their backyards… When those in charge don’t engage in the work personally, it gives others in the organization to also take a back seat in this important work.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2020/06/do-your-employees-know-why-you-believe-in-diversity

DECLINE & How dying churches abuse pastors. A review of researcher #GeneFowler’s examination of why traumatized congregations so often attack their leaders.

by April 23, 2020, Christian Century.

… Church abuse of clergy is quite different. It’s a pattern driven by the congregation’s social unconscious reaction to traumatization. Fowler skillfully builds on the work of Wilfred R. Bion (who helped develop the theory behind psychoanalytic group psychology—including the power of the herd instinct) in explaining how this trauma plays out in congregations.

The motivation for church abuse is usually fear, Fowler explains, and this fear can be especially acute in times of palpable decline. As members of a congregation consider the annihilation of the church they’ve long known and revered, they experience a collective trauma. No longer able to maintain an idealistic image of themselves, they fall into denial and then fear. Abuse may also stem from ancestral trauma that’s passed on to a congregation from a previous generation.

Fowler tells the story of decline across several generations, beginning with Robert Wuthnow’s premise that the 1950s were marked by “a spirituality of dwelling.” After the chaos of World War II and the Korean War, people needed to view the church as a safe space, a sacred place in which to be nurtured, a spiritual home where they did not have to think too much. This was the heyday of the popular children’s rhyme, “Here is the church; here is the steeple. Open the doors; see all the people.”

The 1960s, Fowler explains, “constituted the initial period in the story of Protestantism’s trauma-producing membership decline in the United States.” The spirituality of dwelling was replaced by a “spirituality of seeking.” “Sacred moments of experiencing the divine and a continuing spiritual journey replaced sacred space and the need to know the sacred territory.” This major cultural and ecclesiastical shift stretched across subsequent decades, even as it went largely unnamed.

Christians who see their image of the steeple church shattered are often traumatized by this shift. The shattering of a beloved image is a loss that many congregants find unbearable. They realize that they cannot depend on the church’s culture—including its clergy—to remedy the shocking sense of annihilation that comes with the displacement they’re experiencing.

“When congregations must defend themselves against confronting their fear of congregational annihilation at all costs, their effort is at the expense of the pastor and the pastor’s loved ones,” Fowler explains. In their pain, the congregation begins the movement to get rid of their pastor—even when there is no reason justifying such a move. Common tactics include defamation of character, casting of shame, forced termination, and unemployment.

Read more at … https://www.christiancentury.org/review/books/how-dying-churches-abuse-pastors

DELEGATION & How to Delegate Using a Simple Questionnaire & a 7-Step Process

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Coaching leaders for 30 years and teaching leadership to graduate students for 24 years, I believe the greatest leadership weakness is the desire to “do it yourself” rather than delegate when someone else is better at doing it than you. To address this I created the 3-STRand leadership test.

Take this test to find your leadership style and who you should have on your team. Then read this article for application ideas.

The Best Managers Share Authority. Now It Teaches Them to Delegate Using This 7-Step Process by Michael Schneider, Inc. Magazine, 7/22/19.

The best Google managers empower their teams and do not micromanage.

This idea came in at number two on Google’s top 10 list of effective manager traits. If you haven’t heard the story, Google in an effort to prove that bosses weren’t necessary, ended up finding the exact opposite — managers not only matter, but they can significantly influence the performance of their teams. But, they didn’t stop there. After realizing that managers were important, they embarked on a quest to uncover all the behaviors that made some more effective than others. The initiative became known as Project Oxygen

To help its managers determine the work that they should delegate, Google asks leaders to:

  • Look at the goals. What is the end-game and what does the team need to do to achieve its goals. Break down the work and identify parts that can be delegated. 
  • Look at yourself. In which areas do you have strengths and responsibilities, and what should you delegate? 
  • Recognize the right person for the work. Take a look at your team’s skills and ask yourself who has clear strengths in the areas you want to delegate. Use your employees like “chess pieces” and strategically assign work that plays to their abilities. In the process, you’ll not only empower but also increase the overall productivity of the team. 

…Google has broken down the process into these seven steps

1. Give an overview of the work.

Discuss the scope and significance of the project. Tell your employee why you selected them and the impact that the work has on the business. 

2. Describe the details of the new reasonability.

Discuss your desired outcome and clarify expectations. Tell the employee what you expect, but not how to do it. It’s essential to give them the autonomy and freedom to learn and grow from the experience — not just follow orders.  

3. Solicit questions, reactions, and suggestions.

The conversation should be a two-way street. Remember, the ultimate goal is to put your employee in the driver seat. Make sure they have all the information they need to assume ownership, accountability, and meet expectations.  

4. Listen to the delegatee’s comments and respond empathetically.

This is new and uncharted territory for your employee. Ease their anxiety and create a psychologically safe environment where the employee feels comfortable voicing concerns, discussing hesitations, and coming to you for help. 

5. Share how this impacts the team.

So employees understand the importance of their work and prioritize accordingly, make sure that you connect the dots and explain how the task supports other team initiatives. 

6. Be encouraging.

Employees won’t take full responsibility until you encourage them to. Make sure they understand that you’re trusting them to deliver results. 

7. Establish checkpoints, results, deadlines, and ways to monitor progress.

Although they have the autonomy, make sure employees know the critical milestones they need to hit and what success look like to gauge progress. 

Delegating isn’t the easiest thing to do. But, you have to look at it as an investment in your employees. They learn, and you pick up more bandwidth to tackle other things — everyone wins. 

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/michael-schneider/google-found-that-its-best-managers-share-authority-now-it-teaches-them-to-delegate-using-this-7-step-process.html

CHURCH HISTORY & A Timeline of the Association of Vineyard Churches via Virginia Commonwealth University

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: While earning my first doctorate, a Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary, one of my professors was the renowned practical theologian (and co-founder of the singing group “The Righteous Brothers“): John Wimber.

He gave me the opportunity to analyze the growth of a new denomination he was leading: The Association of Vineyard Churches. During my research, I noticed how the movement eventually lost some of the innovation and momentum from which it was born.

In an effort to avoid such missteps in church planting, venue launches and start-up ministries, I conducted Doctor of Ministry research. Here is a helpful introduction to the Vineyard denomination researched by the scholars at Virginia Commonwealth University.

ASSOCIATION OF VINEYARD CHURCHES TIMELINE  

by John C. Peterson, World Religions and Spirituality Project, 9/4/16.

1934 (February 25):  John Wimber was born in Kirksville, Missouri or Peoria, Illinois.

c1940:  Wimber received his first saxophone.

c1946:  Wimber and his mother moved to California.

1949:  Wimber made his first professional appearance.

1955:  Wimber met his future wife, Carol, a member of The Paramours, her prom band. The couple was married seven months later. The Paramours would work the Las Vegas circuit for the next five years. Wimber (as Johnny Wimber) played keyboards.

1960:  The Wimbers faced a marriage crisis and separated. The separation ended when each cried out to God for help. The couple remarried in the Roman Catholic Church. They also attended a Friends Meeting and Bible studies. Carol began Bible studies in their home.

1962:  The Wimbers recruited Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley for The Paramours. The group later became The Righteous Brothers, originally with Wimber on keyboards.

1962:  Through Paramours‘ drummer Dick Heyling, the Wimbers met Quaker lay evangelist Gunner Payne and began attending Payne’s Bible studies at Heyling’s home.

1963:  John and Carol Wimber had near-simultaneous conversion experiences at one of Payne’s Bible studies. The Wimbers continued leadership involvement with Bible study groups through the Friends Meeting, with Gunner Payne at the Heylings, and in their own home, beginning a period of intense evangelism.

c1967:  John Wimber felt called to leave the music business and enrolled in Azusa Pacific University to study the Bible for three years.

1970:  Upon graduation, Wimber was “registered” (ordained) by Society of Friends. He became assistant pastor of Yorba Linda Friends meeting and continued to lead a number of Bible studies which became increasingly intense and well attended. They came to the attention of the Southern California religious community.

1974:  John and Carol Wimber and forty of their Bible study students were asked to leave the Friends Meeting. John was invited by C. Peter Wagner to help found the new Fuller Institute for Church Growth.

1975-1978:  Wimber taught church growth and planting as an adjunct faculty at Fuller while continuing to lead growing Bible studies.

1977:  Bible studies grew and were incorporated as a congregation of Calvary Chapel.

1979:  Wimber met Ken Gullicksen, another member of the Calvary Chapel movement, at a retreat.

1980:  Lonnie Frisbee preached to Wimber’s congregation on Mother’s Day, triggering an outpouring of charismatic phenomena.

1982-1986:  Wimber and Wagner taught a Signs, Wonders, and Church Growth course at Fuller.

1982:  Wimber broke with Calvary Chapel over Wimber’s increasing emphasis on charismatic phenomena, and, with several other Calvary Chapel groups, joined with Gullicksen’s group of Vineyard churches. Gullicksen asked Wimber to take the lead.

1982:  Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim was incorporated.

1984:  Vineyard Ministries International was established.

1985:  The Association of Vineyard Churches incorporated. Mercy Music (later Vineyard Music) was established.

1986:  Wimber published his book Power Evangelism. 

1986:  Wimber suffered a heart attack.

1988:  Wimber established close relationships with prophetic figures of the Kansas City Fellowship (which was renamed The Kansas City Vineyard).

1991:  Wimber became disillusioned with the Kansas City “prophets” and broke off the relationship.

1994:  The “Toronto Blessing” revival broke out at Toronto Airport Vineyard Church. It drew international attention to extreme charismatic phenomena.

1993-1995:  Wimber received cancer diagnosis and suffered a stroke.

1995:  Wimber observed the “Toronto Blessing” revival and cuts ties with it.

1997 (July):  Wimber installed Todd Hunter as National Coordinator of The Association of Vineyard Churches.

1997 (November):  Wimber died of massive brain hemorrhage.

2000:  Hunter resigned his position. The board named Bert Waggoner of Sugarland, Texas, to succeed him.

2011:  Waggoner retired and was replaced by Phil Strout of Maine.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY 

The Association of Vineyard Churches (or the Vineyard movement) grew out of the Jesus movement that developed within the “hippie” culture of Southern California in the 1960s. This movement was built more around gifted evangelists working mostly through home-based Bible study groups rather than through established churches. Many of these groups involved music scene figures, some of whom were fairly prominent.

Three of those evangelists who were exceptionally successful ended up involved in the creation of two new denominations: Chuck Smith turned his Bible study groups into the Calvary Chapel movement (Chapel on the Vine 2015), and Ken Gullicksen turned his groups into what would become the Vineyard Churches. The third, the very gifted Lonnie Frisbee, was a key figure in both movements, but he is rarely mentioned today because of his struggle with homosexuality (Randles n.d.). A fourth key figure in the Bible study phenomenon was John Wimber.

Read more at … https://wrldrels.org/2016/10/08/association-of-vineyard-churches/

DEMOGRAPHICS & In booming Austin, Texas, churches struggle to keep pace with the city’s growth.

by Eileen Flynn, Faith and Leadership Magazine, 3/19/19.

At a time when many churches in the United States are struggling, some even dying, a counternarrative is playing out in booming Austin, one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Though not all of Austin’s congregations are thriving, some area churches are clearly being squeezed by the region’s population explosion over the last decade. And while packed pews are a cause for celebration, the rapid growth presents challenges, and perhaps even a few lessons — lessons about hospitality, welcome and community in an era of increasing isolation.

full sanctuary
A band leads contemporary worship in the fellowship hall at Covenant Presbyterian. 

 

The Austin metro area, a five-county region, has grown from 846,000 in 1990 to more than 2 million today. Since 2010, the area has absorbed more than 150 new people a day, counting births, according to a recent report. The city demographer predicts that Austin proper will likely hit the million mark by 2020. Newcomers gravitate to the area for tech jobs, the much-touted Austin lifestyle, and, for those coming from California and East Coast cities, more-affordable housing.

The boom has created big-city hassles: traffic jams and parking problems, a rising median home price, and seemingly endless construction. It’s also led to feelings of isolation and disconnection among residents, who seek community in the midst of massive change.

What are the causes of disconnection and isolation in your community? How can your church address them?

To accommodate the growth, church leaders have added more worship services and programs. They’ve expanded or built new sanctuaries. Some have gone multisite — often digitally streaming sermons from a main location to satellite campuses in the suburbs. They have planted churches like The Well that meet in school cafeterias. And they have created more small groups so members don’t feel overwhelmed.

Matter of arithmetic?

Church growth in Austin may be a simple matter of arithmetic, said Mark Chaves, a Duke University sociologist who studies religion. Population growth has always been an important driver of church growth; more people moving to an area means more people attending its churches. Indeed, some churches in other rapidly growing areas, such as Dallas and Nashville, have also experienced explosive growth.

Although church attendance is declining nationally, it’s impossible to say for sure whether anything exceptional is happening in Austin, barring a study of per capita attendance in the area, Chaves said.

“Whether there’s a higher percentage of Austin population attending church now than before — I suspect not,” he said.

Still, Austin’s rapid urbanization and transience seem to have stirred a longing for a spiritual family, church leaders say. As the city becomes more crowded, new transplants and longtime residents alike can feel lonely and unmoored. And that’s driving up attendance in some congregations.

At Covenant, a Presbyterian (U.S.A) congregation founded in the early 1960s, the four Sunday services draw more than 1,000 people every week, up from about 700 in 2013. The church recently paid off its 60,000-square-foot fellowship and education building. Annual giving is at an all-time high.

“We’re jumping right now,” said the Rev. Thomas Daniel, who has served as senior pastor since 2014. “I love it. This is what you want to be a part of.”

Read more at … https://www.faithandleadership.com/booming-austin-texas-churches-struggle-keep-pace-citys-growth?utm_source=FL_newsletter&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=FL_topstory

Speaking Hashtags: #StMarksTX

DIVERSITY & About 1 in 5 American congregants attends a racially mixed place of worship, Baylor University study finds. #ReMIXbook

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Since Mark DeYmaz and I wrote our book about how homogeneous congregations can transition to churches of living color (book is called ReMIX from Abingdon Press) there has been an increase in multicultural churches.

remix cover

This latest research from my friend and colleague Dr. Kevin Daughtery at Baylor University, indicates that almost 20% of churches are transitioning to multicultural congregations.

Learn about this exciting new trend in the article below and then pick up a copy of ReMIX: Transitioning your Church to Living Color (Abingdon Press) to find out how almost any church can do it.

Multiracial Congregations Have Nearly Doubled, But They Still Lag Behind the Makeup of Neighborhoods

By Terry Goodrich, Baylor Univ. communications, 6/20/18

The percentage of multiracial congregations in the United States nearly doubled from 1998 to 2012, with about one in five American congregants attending a place of worship that is racially mixed, according to a Baylor University study.

While Catholic churches remain more likely to be multiracial — about one in four — a growing number of Protestant churches are multiracial, the study found. The percentage of Protestant churches that are multiracial tripled, from 4 percent in 1998 to 12 percent in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available.

In addition, more African-Americans are in the pulpits and pews of U.S. multiracial churches than in the past, according to the study.

Multiracial congregations are places of worship in which less than 80 percent of participants are of the same race or ethnicity.

“Congregations are looking more like their neighborhoods racially and ethnically, but they still lag behind,” said lead author Kevin D. Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences. “The average congregation was eight times less diverse racially than its neighborhood in 1998 and four times less diverse in 2012.”

“More congregations seem to be growing more attentive to the changing demographics outside their doors, and as U.S. society continues to diversify by race and ethnicity, congregations’ ability to adapt to those changes will grow in importance,” said co-author Michael O. Emerson, Ph.D., provost of North Park University in Chicago.

For the study, Dougherty and Emerson analyzed data from the National Congregations Study, a nationally representative survey conducted in 1998, 2006-2007 and 2012, with a cumulative sample of 4,071 congregations. The study by Dougherty and Emerson — “The Changing Complexion of American Congregations” — is published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The study found that:

  • One-third of U.S. congregations were composed entirely of one race in 2012, down from nearly half of U.S. congregations in 1998.
  • Multiracial congregations constituted 12 percent of all U.S. congregations in 2012, up from 6 percent in 1998.
  • The percentage of Americans worshipping in multiracial congregations climbed to 18 percent in 2012, up from 13 percent in 1998.
  • Mainline Protestant and Evangelical Protestant churches have become more common in the count of multiracial congregations, but Catholic churches continue to show higher percentages of multiracial congregations. One in four Catholic churches was multiracial in 2012.
  • While whites are the head ministers in more than two-thirds (70 percent) of multiracial congregations, the percentage of those led by black clergy has risen to 17 percent, up from fewer than 5 percent in 1998.
  • Blacks have replaced Latinos as the most likely group to worship with whites. In the typical multiracial congregation, the percentage of black members rose to nearly a quarter in 2012, up from 16 percent in 1998. Meanwhile, Latinos in multiracial congregations dropped from 22 percent in 1998 to 13 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of immigrants in multiracial congregations decreased from over 5 percent in 1998 to under 3 percent in 2012.

Read more at … https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=199850

DELEGATION & How to Politely Turn Down Your Boss’s Request for Additional Work

6C544504-CC13-49EB-B359-63C14CE16938
Read more at … https://www.hbrascend.in/topics/politely-turn-bosss-request-additional-work/

DMIN & Wesley Seminary cohort in Transformational Leadership began their educational journey visiting #MLK birthplace, Ebenezer Baptist Church & Greater Traveler’s Rest Church where #MLK pastored.

Commentary by Prof. B: Below are two pictures from the first course I taught to our DMin in Transformational Leadership students. The course (LEAD 711: Foundations of Urban, Rural and Suburban Leadership) included visits to important #MLK historical sites as well as hearing from a diverse group of pastors.

DMin 2016 ATL Speakers from Poster copy

The first is a picture of our #WesleySem #DMIN #Leadership cohort visiting #MLK birthplace and hearing from @Ebenezer_ATL Church pastor #RaphaelWarnock.

While pictured below are our students @WesleySeminary #DMin in Transformational Leadership students when we began our program in 2016 by attending Greater Traveler’s Rest Church formerly pastored by #MartinLutherKingJr. Current pastor Rev. Dr. Dewey Smith (pictured) hosted a day of learning. @HOHATL #WesleySem

IMG_8039.JPG

#DMin DMin cohort Wesley Seminary LEAD 711 712 713 714 715 716

DE-CONVERSION & Why ministers abandon the Christian faith #BGCE

by Michael Hakmin Lee Ph.D., Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College, Fellows colloquium, 12/18/17.

25 pastors who had been in ministry for 2+ years and who mostly came from a fundamentalist background were interviewed. To agree on terminology Dr. Lee used Paul Hiebert’s definition: a Christian is a person seeking “to follow Christ to the extent they know him.” [Paul G.Hiebert, Anthropological Insights for Missionaries (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985] p. 127.)

Insights:

  • Most who reconverted saw their Christianity as a “half-way” house that was a viable solution at the time that dissolved some of their problems and angst.
  • They saw their deconversion as a pursuit of truth.
  • There was an accumulation of doubt.

Major themes:

  1. Loss of confidence in biblical authority, in order:
    • Bible criticism,
    • Ethics in the bible,
    • Theological and hermeneutical divergence.
  2. Dissent from Christian teaching and values:
    • Hell and Christianity exclusivity
    • Science and Faith
  3. Disappointment with God and the Christian Experience
    • Efficacy of prayer and spiritual resources
    • The problem of evil
    • Provoking life struggles
    • Christian behavior
  4. Personal predisposition with characteristics of “openness to experience:”
    • Imaginativeness,
    • Sensitivity to inner feelings,
    • Perusal of new experiences,
    • Intellectual curiosity and
    • Readiness to reevaluate values.

See Kenneth Daniels book, Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary.

Also see Lewis Ray Rambo,

LEE, M. H. (0ADAD). Assessment Of Paul Hiebert’s Centered-Set Approach To The Category ‘Christian’. https://doi.org/10.2986/TREN.001-1127

DIVERSITY & A video introduction to LEAD 545 assignments on diversity & unity

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 9/22/17.

This is my video introduction to the assignments on how to create both diversity and unity in LEAD 545: Strategic Leadership and Management.  Be sure to read the syllabus and weekly instructions before watching my additional video introduction.

©️Bob Whitesel 2017, used by permission only.

DISCRIMINATION & A Review of James Cone’s theological response to the dark history of lynchings

When He Died Upon the Tree: James Cone’s seminal book gives a theological response to the dark history of lynchings in America.

by Bruce Fields, Christianity Today, 8/16/17.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree is the most significant theological perspective on lynching—which includes not just hanging, but also “burning, beating, dragging, and shooting—as well as torture, mutilation, and especially castration.” Based on impressive research, Cone argues that the lynching tree is a viable reality/symbol for reflection on the cross of Christ. According to Cone, understandings of the cross and lynching tree can mutually inform one another and explain how events of trauma and injustice can still inspire hope for the African American community.

Cone’s book begins by advocating for confronting white supremacy, which is evident even in the church. He claims that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree could “help us to see Jesus in America in a new light.” He first engages lynching in the United States from a historical perspective, which was used a means of reminding blacks “of their inferiority and powerlessness.” Cone then considers the “Christian realism” of Reinhold Niebuhr, seeing a potentially useful theological perspective. Cone applauds Niebuhr’s focus upon matters of “self-interest and power” in human relationships, but faults Niebuhr for not addressing lynching as an obvious example of sinful human abuse.

Cone moves on to discuss how Martin Luther King Jr. saw the cross and the resurrection of Christ as inspiration for his ministry, though ”it did not erase the pain of suffering or its challenge of faith.” Cone then explores the tension between Christian truth claims and the reality of the black experience as expressed in the black literary imagination and also the ministries of women like Ida B. Wells who, at the risk of their own lives, fought against lynching.

Cone concludes with a message of hope: “God took the evil of the cross and lynching tree and transformed them both into the triumphant beauty of the divine. If America has the courage to confront the great sin and ongoing legacy of white supremacy with repentance and reparation there is hope ‘beyond tragedy.’”

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/august-web-only/reflections-on-cross-and-lynching-tree.html

DISCRIMINATION & how can I be a stronger ally to those who suffer?

“For our white friends desiring to be allies”
by Courtney Ariel, Sojourners Magazine, 8/16/17.

Author’s Note: I’m writing this in hopes that it can be used to lighten the load of marginalized folks, keeping in mind that not all marginalized people want to engage in the ally conversation, and that is perfect as well. For those who do, my prayer is that when someone asks you the question, “how can I be a stronger ally?” you might choose to save your breath/energy and send this in its place.

I have been asked by two dear friends, “how can I be a stronger ally?” Being the slow emotional processor that I am, I wanted to spend some time with this before I answered them. I surely appreciate and love these two individuals, and I appreciate their vulnerability in asking me this question.

1. Listen more; talk less. You don’t have to have something to say all of the time. You don’t have to post something on social media that points to how liberal/how aware/how cool/how good you are. You are lovely, human, and amazing. You have also had the microphone for most of the time, for a very long time, and it will be good to give the microphone to someone else who is living a different experience than your own.

2. For one out of every three opinions/insights shared by a person of color in your life, try to resist the need to respond with a better or different insight about something that you read or listened to as it relates to their shared opinion. Try just to listen and sit with someone else’s experience. When you do share in response to what someone has shared with you, it can sometimes (not always) feel like “whitesplaining” — meaning to explain or comment on something in an over-confident or condescending way. This adds to the silencing of the voices of people of color.

3. Being an ally is different than simply wanting not be racist (thank you for that, by the way). Being an ally requires you to educate yourself about systemic racism in this country. Read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and so many other great books and articles that illuminate oppression and structures of white supremacy and white privilege. Use your voice and influence to direct the folks that walk alongside you in real life (or follow you on the internet), toward the voice of someone that is living a marginalized/disenfranchised experience…

Read more at … https://sojo.net/articles/our-white-friends-desiring-be-allies

STUDENT SUCCESS & An Explanation of DMin Post-seminar Assignment Parameters for 2017

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 7/24/17.

Post-seminar assignment

  1.         Personal Bible, History and Theology Paper.  (250 points)

Write a 14-22 page paper (covering insights from both courses) demonstrating that you are conversant in the key biblical/historical/theological source material regarding leadership and application.

  1.   Explain your developing understanding of:
  • A biblical, historical and theological understanding of one of more of the following leadership topics as relevant to your leadership:
  • Wesley’s leadership,
  • renewal leadership
  • and/or multiplication leadership.

PROF B > Basically pick one or more of the “leadership topics” (Wesley’s leadership, renewal leadership and/or multiplication leadership) and for each one have three sections.

EXAMPLE > Let’s use “renewal leadership” as an example (though you might choose a different one or two of the others). The first section will describe your developing biblical understanding of “renewal leadership.” The second section will describe your developing historical understanding of “renewal leadership.” And the third section will describe your developing theological understanding of “renewal leadership.”

  • Tell how this understanding will inform your plan for transformational leadership (i.e. in the following Student Analysis Paper).

PROF B > Explain in each section how that section will impact your plan (in the next paper).

  1.  Synthesize key biblical, historical and theological issues with organizational understandings into a practical, historically consistent and theologically valid process model for bringing about effective Wesleyan, renewal and/or multiplication leadership in your ministry.

PROF B > A process model (which I am sure all understand by now) is a “model” or “plan” that will take place over time (hence a “process model”). This plan here describes how your developing understanding of the bible, theology and history will impact your application plan. So this assignment basically describes how you will keep relevant aspects of bible, theology and history impacting your application paper (the next assignment). So, show me a plan that you will use throughout your ministry that will keep relevant bible, theology and history aspects impacting your application plan (which is the next paper).

EXAMPLE: Perhaps you will begin a monthly reading as some of Wesley’s journals, i.e. passages that relate to one of the three topics mentioned above. Or perhaps you will delve into what the Bible says about multiplication in a personal Bible study you have with friends. Or you may decide that every six weeks you will interview a pastor turnaround church church and glean ideas. Basically you need to show a plan to keep the bible, church history and theology central in your growth as a transformational leader and in your foundation for transforming an organization

  1.  Use a title page, abstract, appendixes and citation pages (which do not count toward page totals).
  2.  Student Analysis Paper (250 points)

Write a 22-36 page paper (covering insights from both courses) proposing a strategy for applying Wesley’s leadership methodologies, renewal leadership and/or multiplication leadership for a specific ministry challenge in your ministry. Utilize the following sections (which may each be of varying length):

PROF B > This is basically your organizational plan. You want to take the ideas from your first paper and now show the practical plans that grow out of them regarding either Wesley’s leadership methodologies, renewal leadership and/or multiplication leadership.

Section 1: Describe your level of skill as a transformational leader in the areas of Wesley’s methodologies, renewal and/or multiplication along with a personal plan for growth.  Though your level of skill as in these areas has been broached in your pre-seminar paper, do not cut-and-paste ideas from the pre-seminar work.  Instead reedit, improve and expand ideas from your pre-seminar work.  Also, section 1 in this post-seminar paper must add a robust and detailed personal plan for growth.

PROF B > Be very careful of plagiarism here. You don’t want to just cite what you did from your pre-seminar paper (or even what you did for one of the doctoral courses last year). In this section you should analyze your skill as a transformational leader and how it has changed since you’ve been in England and in these online discussions.

ASSESSMENT > This section will be in each of your papers and give you a chance to evaluate how you improved from before the live seminar (this year in England) and even allow comparison between years, i.e. how your skill has changed since last year.

Section 2:  Upon the biblical, historical and theological foundations from your previous paper build a detailed strategy selection, implementation and outcomes that cites the impact of bible, history and theology upon your plan.

PROF B > Don’t restate sections from your previous paper, but rather use short phrases and citations to describe how the Bible, church history and theology will impact each of your strategic plans in this paper. Thus, you don’t want to restate entire sections of the previous paper. That can be perceived as padding by professors, meaning that you are filling up the paper with previous work to reach your page total. I know you would not do that. But, I want to make you aware that that can be a perception and we don’t want that when you go before your projects committee.

Ensure that this process model synthesizes both key theological issues and important organizational concepts.

PROF B > Again site relevant theological issues and don’t overlook them. Sometimes theological issues get overlooked because it’s easier to talk about historical issues and biblical issues.

Also, demonstrate how this outcome has emerged from an understanding codified in your Personal Bible/history/theological Paper.

PROF B > Again, it should be clear how the Bible, history and theology have impacted your plan and made it better. Use short phrases and appropriate citations to show your plan is tied back to a solid biblical, historical and theological undersanding.

WIDE BREADTH OF SCHOLARSHIP > I think you all are aware by the time you get to a doctoral level that you are supposed to be siting dozens of relevant primary sources in your papers. Sometimes students will cite as source and use it only once in your paper. If the source is really that good and it should be reoccurring in your paper many times. Your paper should be a clear example that you have taken various series and the ologies and created from them a new and exciting way strategic plan for your ministry. That is why you’re required to read 4000 pages because it is assumed that most of those books will make their way into your paper. Remember, the paper is an example of you taking what great scholars have said about your topics and apply them to your local situation. So it’s important that you demonstrate that you have a broad knowledge of Scholarship buy respective academics regarding the plans you are proposing.

CHURCHHEALTH.WIKI & The DISCUSSION FORUM PURPOSE > As I know you all are aware, you can find on my wiki dozens and dozens of articles: not just on topics from our courses, but also on APA formatting, how many citations to use, etc. Go there for the answers and if you can’t find them there then crowd-source them in your discussion forum. Chances are a previous student has asked a similar question at one time and I’ve answered it there. In fact, I will put this entire elaborated description of your assignment on ChurchHealth.wiki so you are have access to it anytime you need it.

FORUMS > And so, the forums are a place to go deeper in your application more than asking questions about the assignments. You certainly can and should do the latter in the forums, but that’s not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose is to take everything that you’re putting into your paper and allow your cohort-mates to help you focus it, find more citations and make it more likely to succeed.

Use due dates, delegation responsibilities, timelines, PERT charts, etc.

PROF B > Finally, don’t forget to use appendices to include charts, timelines and plans such as PERT charts. You want to create a visual representation that you might use to show what you’re proposing to your leaders. This will also prepare you for your final DMIN project when a visual plan will be a an important part of your Dr. of Ministry project. See more about appendices in the finaly paragraph below.

Appendixes:  Include in this paper an 11 x 17 diagram mapping the student’s transformational leadership process with suggested due dates, delegation procedures, accountability networks, and triggers that will move the process forward toward an effective conclusion.  Footnote this process model with brief descriptions of relevant theological thought that have informed each stage of one’s process model.  Note:  Use a title page, abstract, appendixes and citation pages (which do not count toward page totals).

#DMin

 

DECLINE & Is there a church death spiral? #ThomRainer

by Thom Rainer, LifeWay Research, 7/3/17.

A Review of the Research

You can peruse the details of our research at my previous blog post. Simply stated, we conducted a random sample of churches with data in 2013 and 2016. The margin of error of the research is +/- 3.1 percent. It’s an accurate study – very accurate.

In the previous post, I shared that 65 percent of churches are declining or plateaued. For most of us, that number was better than the conventional “wisdom” we have heard. In that sense it was good news.

And Now the Bad News, At Least Some of It

Over 61 percent of churches average fewer than 100 in worship attendance. Yes, we are a nation of small churches. I love it. I love small churches.

But if your church has fewer than 100 in worship, it is likely to be a declining church. In fact two out of three of these small churches are declining.

Even more, there is a direct correlation with the rate of decline in a church and the size of the church. Simply stated, the smaller the church, the greater the rate of decline in attendance. Perhaps these three statements will clarify my point:

  • A declining church with an attendance of 200 or more declines at a rate of 4 percent each year.
  • A declining church with an attendance of less than 100 declines at a rate of 7.6 percent per year.
  • A declining church with an attendance of less than 50 declines at a rate of 8.7 percent a year.

It’s a death spiral. Declining smaller churches decline much more rapidly than larger churches. Once the declining church goes below 100 in attendance, its days are likely numbered.

Here is the sad summary statement of this portion of the research: Once a church declines below 100 in worship attendance, it is likely to die within just a few years. The life expectancy for many of these churches is ten years or less.

Gloomy But Not Hopeless…

Read more at … http://thomrainer.com/2017/07/church-death-spiral/

DECISION MAKING & Stanford Prof. Explains Research for Better Decision Making #Video

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The past 15 years have witnessed a great deal of research on how to make better decisions. Probably no one understands this more than Stanford Univ. professor Dr. Baba Shiv. Here is a video giving an overview of his research with lessons every leader needs for better decision making.

https://youtu.be/SS4F1U5FuNM

DENOMINATIONS & What denominations are gaining members and what denominations are losing members?

A: Mainline Protestant denominations continued to decline, according to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Church of Christ, all reported decreases in membership in 2011. For several years now, the Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative evangelical denomination, also showed a decrease.  The Roman Catholic Church also reported a decrease of less than 1 percent.

The growing denominations in 2011 were the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assembles of God and several other Pentecostal groups; each reported a 2 percent growth.

Sociologists have also found that larger evangelical Protestant churches appear to be growing, while smaller churches posted smaller growth.  Based on data from the Faith Communities Today survey, evangelical churches with more than 1,000 people posted the largest gains over the past five years: 83 percent.
Want to know more? Go to the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The Yearbook costs $55 and may be ordered at: www.yearbookofchurches.org

Check out the Faith Communities Today surveys of congregations, http://www.faithcommunitiestoday.org  You might also want to read How Strong is Denominational Identity?

OLDLINE PROTESTANT*

Number of Regularly Participating Adults

% of Congregations Growing by 5% Or More From 1995 to 2000

1 thru 49

30%

50 thru 99

41%

100 thru 149

52%

150 thru 349

50%

350 thru 999

70%

1000 or More

66%

EVANGELICAL PROTESTANT*

Number of Regularly Participating Adults

% of Congregations Growing by 5% Or More From 1995 to 2000

1 thru 49

37%

50 thru 99

50%

100 thru 149

60%

150 thru 349

66%

350 thru 999

74%

1000 or More

83%

* Does not include historic black denominations

denominational change

denominational membership trends

The Hartford Institute for Church Research, retrieved from http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html#sizecong, 11/9/16.

DENOMINATIONS & Largest 25 Denominations/Communions from the 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

Total church membership reported in the 2012 Yearbook is 145,691,446 members, down 1.15 percent over 2011.

1. The Catholic Church 68,202,492, [ranked 1 in 2011] , down 0.44 percent.
2. Southern Baptist Convention 16,136,044, [ranked 2 in 2011] , down 0.15 percent.
** Since the 2010 census of nondenominational/independent congregations, we now know that this grouping of churches, if taken together, would be the second largest Protestant group in the country with over 35,000 congregations and over 12,200,000 adherents.
3. The United Methodist Church 7,679,850, [ranked 3 in 2011] , down 1.22 percent.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6,157,238, [ranked 4 in 2011], up 1.62 percent.
5. The Church of God in Christ 5,499,875, [ranked 5 in 2011] , no update reported.
6. National Baptist Convention , U.S.A. , Inc. 5,197,512, [ranked 6 in 2011] , up 3.95 percent.
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 4,274,855, [ranked 7 in 2011] , down 5.90 percent.
8. National Baptist Convention of America , Inc. 3,500,000, [ranked 8 in 2011] , no update reported.
9. Assemblies of God 3,030,944, [ranked 9 in 2011] , up 3.99 percent.
10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2,675,873, [ranked 10 in 2011] , down 3.42 percent.
11. African Methodist Episcopal Church 2,500,000, [ranked 11 in 2011] , no update reported.
12. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America 2,500,000, [ranked 11 in 2011] , no update reported.
13. The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) 2,278,586, [ranked 13 in 2011] , down 1.45 percent.
14. The Episcopal Church 1,951,907, [ranked 14 in 2011] , down 2.71 percent.
15. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc. 1,800,000, ranked 15 [ranked 17 in 2011] , up 20 percent.
16. Churches of Christ 1,639,495, [ranked 15 in 2011] , no update reported.
17. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 1,500,000 , [ranked 16 in 2011] , no update reported.
18. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church 1,400,000, [ranked 18 in 2011] , no update reported.
19. American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. 1,308,054, [ranked 19 in 2011] , down 0.19 percent.
20. Jehovah’s Witnesses 1,184,249, [ranked 20 in 2011] , up 1.85 percent.
21. Church of God ( Cleveland , Tennessee ) 1,074,047, [ranked 22 in 2011] , down 0.21 percent.
22. Christian Churches and Churches of Christ 1,071,616, [ranked 23 in 2011] , no update reported.
23. Seventh-day Adventist Church 1,060,386, [ranked 24 in 2011] , up 1.61 percent.
24. United Church of Christ 1,058,423, [ranked 21 in 2011], down 2.02 percent.
25. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. 1,010,000, [ranked 25 in 2011 ], no update reported.
Total membership in top 25 churches: 145,691,446, down 1.15 percent.

Membership figures reported in the 2012 Yearbook were collected by the churches in 2010 and reported to the Yearbook in 2011.

Nine of the 25 largest churches did not report updated figures: the Church of God in Christ; the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; the African Methodist Episcopal Church; the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America; Churches of Christ; the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.; the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; and Christian Churches and Churches of Christ.

The 2012 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches reports on 228 national church bodies. The Yearbook also includes a directory of 235 U.S. local and regional ecumenical bodies with program and contact information and provides listings of theological seminaries and bible schools, religious periodicals and guides to religious research including church archive listings.

For more information, or to purchase a copy of the 2012 Yearbook, see www.yearbookofchurches.org.

The Hartford Institute for Church Research, retrieved from http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html#sizecong, 11/9/16.