CHURCH HISTORY & Statistics for each of the largest denominations. #ARDA #AssociationOfReligiousDataArchives

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: If you are coaching churches (or just connecting with leaders of a different denomination) it’s helpful to have one place where you can get reliable statistics on their number of churches, their growth or decline, etc. The American Religious Data Archives (ARDA) is the place scholars go for that data. Here is a link to their webpage which includes up-to-date statistical data on all of the major Christian denominations:


The ARDA has integrated all of its information about each of the largest denominations and religious groups in the United States into one webpage.

African Methodist Episcopal Church

American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

Assemblies of God

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Christian Churches and Churches of Christ

Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Church of the Nazarene

Churches of Christ

Episcopal Church

Evangelical Free Church of America

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS)

National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.

Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church in America

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Roman Catholic Church

Seventh-day Adventist Church

Southern Baptist Convention

United Church of Christ

United Methodist Church

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church

MULTIPLICATION & 7 Statistics That Predict Church Growth #HartfordInstitute

By Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 3/21/16.

Analysis of the American Congregations 2015 study finds seven statistics played a role in which churches experienced significant growth since 2010.

1. Growing location — The old real estate adage applies to churches. Growth is connected to “location, location, location.”

More than half (59 percent) of churches in a new suburb grew at least 2 percent in the past five years. Those in other locations were less likely to experience similar growth—only 44 percent grew at that rate.

2. Younger congregation — Churches whose membership was at least a third senior adults were less likely to grow than other churches.

Only 36 percent of churches heavily attended by senior citizens grew 2 percent or more in the last five years. Almost half (48 percent) of churches where seniors were less than one-third grew.

3. Innovative worship — Congregations who describe their worship service as “very innovative” are almost 10 percent more likely to grow than others.

Less than 44 percent of churches that say they have little to some innovation in worship grew, while more than 53 percent of churches with very innovative worship grew.

4. Lack of serious conflict — Fighting churches are not growing churches. Serious conflict stunts growth.

For churches that maintained relative calm—no serious conflict in the past five years—more than half grew. Only 29 percent of churches with serious conflict did the same.

5. Involved church members — Simply put, the more laity is involved in recruiting new people the more likely a church will grow.

How likely is it that a church grew? For those whose laity was …

  • Not at all involved: 35 percent
  • Involved a little or some: 45 percent
  • Involved quite a bit: 63 percent
  • Involvement a lot: 90 percent

6. Unique identity — If churches worked to discover and present to their community what makes them different from other area churches, they are more likely to grow.

Almost 58 percent of churches who distinguished themselves from other congregations grew, compared to 43 percent of churches who showed little to no difference.

7. Specialized program — Similarly, if churches establish a program as a congregational specialty, they are more likely to grow.

Close to 52 percent of churches that have at least one specialty grew, while less than 42 percent of congregations who claimed no specialty did the same.

These seven statistics from the American Congregations 2015 study give a picture of the churches bucking the trend of decline across U.S. churches.

Read more at …

Hashtags: #StLiz #StLizTX  #Renovate16 #StMarksTX

EVALUATION & Some of My Favorite Quotes On Statistics and Evaluation

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 6/18/15.

Statistics can be deceptive can’t they?  For they can be manipulated to create all sorts of results, some that even defy reality.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about statistics (garnered from “Statistically Speaking: A Dictionary of Quotations” edited by Carl C. Gaither and Alma E. Cavazos-Gaither, 1996).

“There are lies, darn lies, and statistics!” – B. Disraeli, English Prime Minister and political thinker (minced oath was utilized to replace Disraeli’s more base terminology)

“Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment.”  – J. Baudrillard, French social theorist.

“The only useful function of a statistician is to make predictions, and thus to provide a basis for action.” – W. E. Deming, famed statistician, best known for his work in the area of industrial quality control

“The most powerful mathematical tools are sometimes less important to the engineer than some of the simpler or less powerful tools. But often, for lack of information about either, neither is used.” – C. M. Ryerson, statistical theorist.

And, just for fun some humorous perspectives on statistics:

“Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” – Samuel Clemens (alias Mark Twain)

“A statistician drowned while crossing a stream that was, on average, 6 inches deep.”

“Most people use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamp post, more for support than enlightenment.”

“An engineer, a physicist, and a statistician were moose hunting in northern Canada. After a short walk through the marshes they spotted a HUGE moose 150 meters away. The engineer raised his gun and fired at the moose. A puff of dust showed that the bullet landed 3 meters to the right of the moose. The physicist, realizing that there was a substantial breeze that the engineer did not account for, aimed to the left of the moose and fired. The bullet landed 3 meters to the left of the moose. The statistician jumped up and down and screamed ‘We got him! We got him!’” (Also recounted in my book Preparing for Change Reaction, 😉

I hope this quotes remind you about the potentially fallacious nature of statistics and evaluation.  While it behooves us to use evaluation, we must use it carefully, prayerfully, tactfully and suitably to ensure we do not interject personal predilections into our evaluation.

HUMOR & Funny graphs show correlation does not imply causation #ResearchStatistics

“In an ongoing and geekily hilarious collection of evidence in defense of the fact that correlation does not imply causation, Harvard law student Tyler Vigen shares charts showing ‘spurious correlations‘ — high correlation between two random, unrelated statistics.”

Divorce and Margarine

FIGURE Spurious-Correlations-01-685x432

Bedsheet Deaths and Ski Profits

FIGURE Spurious-Correlations-02-685x442
See seven more correlated but completely unrelated stats at …

STATISTICS & 3 Ways to Recognize Bad Stats

3 Ways to Recognize Bad Stats
by Ed Stetzer, The Exchange, Christianity Today, 3/19/14

“I’ve written about the issue before—on many occasions. Here at the blog, you can read about a lot about stats, including specifics about bad marriage stats and why we like bad stats in general.
There is a reason so many people have had skepticism toward stats.

Still, I keep hearing statistics quoted at conferences and through blogs and social media that make me scratch my head in amazement. I’m not sure where some of these stats originate, and I’m the president of LifeWay Research.

So how can you really discern good stats from bad?”

Read more at …