Archive for the ‘Current Research’ Category

CURRENT RESEARCH

While it is true that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is showing steady
membership losses, a study parsing these figures by ethnicity reveals patterns of growth
beyond the majority white members.
The study, conducted by the denomination’s International
Mission Board, found that while the overall SBC membership decreased slightly by -0.1 percent
from 1990 to 2018, ethnic minority groups and congregations increased by more than one
million members.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Megachurches continue to grow in attendance, even as these congregations are subdividing into smaller satellite churches, according to a study by Scott Thumma and Warren Bird. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research-based study confirmed that the majority of participants continue to be white and college educated, although these racial patterns are changing. While megachurches experience people leaving the pews, nearly two-thirds have been at their churches for more than 5 years.

CURRENT RESEARCH

The most recent wave of the New Congregations Study (NCS) finds that the trend toward informal and more enthusiastic forms of worship shows no signs of plateauing while the ethnic diversity of American congregations has increased significantly, with the percentage of all-white congregations decreasing.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Just as there is a Protestant work ethic, a “Protestant family ethic” has emerged which encourages marriage and family formation, particularly among those who have attended Protestant schools, according to a new study. The study, conducted by sociologists Albert Cheng, Patrick J. Wolf, Wendy Wang, and W. Bradford Wilcox, looked at how enrollment in Catholic, Protestant, public, and secular private schools is associated with different family outcomes later in life.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Conflict is growing in congregations as they deliberate on plans to reopen during the pandemic, even as a majority of religious believers and the public tend to accept social distancing rules for all organizations, according to recent studies. A July survey by Lifeway Research found that 27 percent of evangelical and mainline pastors cited addressing complaints and conflict and keeping unity in their congregations as the pressure points they are most strongly feeling.

CURRENT RESEARCH

A study of 110,000 sermons by over 5,500 American religious leaders finds that they routinely contain political messages, with mainline Protestants most likely to deliver such sermons, with evangelicals’ preaching being far less predictable than expected. The study, conducted by political scientists Constantine Boussalis, Travis Coan, and Mirya Holman, confirms the entanglement between religion and politics in the U.S., including within congregational life, but sheds light on the actual political content of sermons.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Church attendance in the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) has actually increased for larger congregations during the pandemic, while it has dropped for smaller churches, according to a survey of pastors in the denomination. The survey, conducted by the denomination, found that congregations with 26-100 average worshipers have declined, but has increased for those with over 100 typically in attendance.

Current Research

A community’s greater degree of social capital, as generated by congregations and other voluntary organizations, is likely to lessen the severity of the coronavirus as well as help in recovery from the crisis, according to research by Christos Andreas Makridis.

Current Research

A new study of young adults finds that while they feel a strong sense of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, many report an increase of faith, with a fairly large number saying they are actually developing new religious practices. Scholarly studies of religion and the coronavirus pandemic will likely weigh down journals for years to come, but the few appearing so far have mainly been issued by research institutes and polling companies.

CURRENT RESEARCH

Contrary to their reputation as proselytizers, evangelicals tend to de-emphasize their religious beliefs, new research indicates that evangelicals actually downplay religious expression when working with religiously diverse and secular groups. In a study of multifaith initiatives in Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon published…