Latest Research: Congregations Respond to Pandemic With Extraordinary Social Outreach, Dec. 2021. #HartfordSeminary #GrowingThePostPandemicChurch

Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 12/21.

Just in time for the holiday season, the Hartford Institute for Religion Research has released its second reportexamining how U.S. congregations are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, and findings this time show most churches are embracing new and innovative ministry opportunities.

One congregation, for example, helped fund a food truck that was donated to a school to provide a mobile feeding center for a low-income community. Another launched a Memory Café, which provides a monthly social opportunity for anyone with dementia and their care partners. Another of our survey respondents said their church went from a monthly sandwich-making ministry to feeding up to 1,200 people per week.

This report is based on data from the second survey of the Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations: Innovation Amidst and Beyond Covid-19project, which includes an over-sampling of eight denominational groups and a random sampling of congregations in other denominations for a total of 38 Christian denominational groups and 820 responses and was conducted in November. It is part of a collaborative, five-year research project funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and led by the Hartford Institute for Religion Researchat Hartford International University for Religion and Peace.

The survey also showed that since the pandemic began, 45% of congregations have made permanent changes to their community outreach, and more than half (54%) started a new ministry or expanded and increased an existing one.

Read more at … https://www.covidreligionresearch.org/research/national-survey-research/extraordinary-social-outreach-in-a-time-of-crisis/

MEGACHURCH & Read the latest report by Hartford Seminary = multiple venues let you have multiple cultural expressions & smaller groups foster friendship & discipleship.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: ever since I studied one of the first megachurches that grew exponentially by moving in to multiple smaller venues, St. Thomas’ Church of Sheffield England, in the 1990s I’ve been a big advocate of multiple sites and smaller groups for almost any church.

(See the chapter I wrote on St. Thomas’ Church of Sheffield, England in Ryan Bolger’s The Gospel After Christendom: New Voices, New Cultures, New Expressions)

That’s because I’ve seen in the churches I’ve coached that multiple venues let you have multiple cultural expressions and smaller groups foster friendships and discipleship.

More research has continued to support this, including the latest exhaustive research from Hartford Seminary. 

Read the latest research here (there are valuable church health and growth insights for any size church): hirr.hartsem.edu/megachurch/2020_Megachurch_Report.pdf

MEGACHURCH & 10 Mega-Church Tips for Ministries of Any Size #ScottThumma #GrowthByAccidentBook

By Scott Thumma, Hartford Seminary Institute on Church Research.

“What could my church possibly learn from these behemoths with million-dollar budgets, hundreds of staff, and thousands of excited volunteers?”

In my travels, I repeatedly hear pastors ask this question. I understand why. But my last 20-plus years of research on megachurches throughout the world suggests that churches of all sizes have much to learn from this phenomenon. However, I don’t believe the primary lessons come from their specific ministry efforts. Instead, the most important things we can learn are the strategies behind all their ministry efforts.

I’ve found that one of the biggest keys to most megachurches’ success is their ability to minister in and adapt to an ever-changing contemporary world. A vital church reaches out to both its members and non-Christians in relevant ways, and megachurches seem to do this both accidentally and intentionally.

Here are 10 basic principles gleaned from megachurches that I believe churches of all sizes can apply:

1) Don’t strive for size; strive to serve God…

2) Know your strengths and put them to work…

3) Evangelize in every possible way…

4) Make it appealing, then make it challenging..

5) Worship is not just a “Sunday thing”…

6) Create participants—not members…

7) Connect the congregation…

8) Whatever you do, do it with excellence…

9) Empower people to identify and live out their calling…

10) Sanctification isn’t just for newcomers…

Read the details at … http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/156871-10-tips-from-large-churches-for-ministries-of-any-size.html