Faith Communities Today Issues Report on Congregational Vitality

September 22, 2022
FACT cover sheet

A new report by Faith Communities Today (FACT), based on its 2020 survey, shows a significant increase in congregations reporting that they are "spiritually vital and alive" compared to a survey in 2015. 

Faith Communities Today is a series of ongoing research surveys and practical reports about congregational life, conducted and published by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, a multi-faith group of religious researchers and faith leaders. The research partnership includes members from 25+ different faith groups, working in conjunction with Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford International University.

The 2020 survey of more than 15,000 respondents was the largest ever conducted in the U.S., "covering 15,278 congregations from 80 different denominations and faith traditions." 

According to the report, “spiritual vitality ... refers to a congregational leader’s response to the question: 'Do you agree or disagree our congregation is spiritually vital and alive?' ... This question has been asked in the FACT surveys since 2000 and highly correlates with other measures of vitality and flourishing."

The report's authors were Petr Činčala, Director of the Institute of Church Ministry, Andrews University (Seventh-day Adventist Church), Allison Sauceda, a freelance writing, and Monte Sahlin, Retired Secretary of FACt and Seventh-day Adventist Church Researcher.

The authors concluded that 40 percent more congregations strongly agreed that they were "spiritually vital and alive" in 2020 than did in 2015's survey.

The report states:

Most spiritually vital congregations had a set of distinctive characteristics that included:

• being open to incorporating new people
• willing to change to meet new challenges
• having thought-provoking worship services
• emphasizing religious education for both children and adults
• considering it important to live out one's faith in all aspects of daily life, not just during sacred time
• having more younger people participating

Despite minor variances by faith tradition and denomination, it is remarkable to see the level of general agreement on common denominators of spiritually vital and alive congregations.

Read the full report here:

FACTS on Spiritually Vital Congregations Report

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