- DECEMBER 7, 2011
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- SEPTEMBER 7, 2011
- AUGUST 10, 2011
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- NOVEMBER 3, 2010
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- FALL SPECIAL REPORT
- SEPTEMBER 8, 2010
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A Report from the Director
||AUGUST 10, 2011
Trends toward Diversity in Congregations
Protestant churches in the United States have traditionally been homogeneous groups. Until recent times, it was common for most churches in a community to be composed of persons from only one race. That appears to be changing, even though progress is slow. While people in another era might have been looking for a church of people like them, new people coming to churches, and especially younger people, increasingly expect the church to model diversity.
Membership reports for the United Methodist Church may be representative of what is happening across various mainline denominations. The Lewis Center for Church Leadership compared the reported racial makeup of congregations between the years 2005 and 2009 to see how patterns may be changing. We looked at the 27,553 congregations that reported both attendance and racial makeup of membership for each of the years 2005 and 2009. There are distinct trends representing three categories.
Fewer one-race congregations. Every year there are fewer congregations made up of people from only one race. What was once common may soon become the exception. The percentage of churches with all their members from one race dropped from 61½ percent in 2005 to 56 percent in 2009.
More congregations with more than one race. The second category is those congregations that have more than one race but without the sufficient diversity to meet the common definition of "multiracial" congregation. These show an increase from 37 percent in 2005 to 42 percent in 2009.
Few but increasing multiracial congregations. A multiracial congregation is often defined as one in which no one racial group makes up 80 percent or more of the membership. Such congregations continue to be rare in the United States. The percentage is normally said to be between 5 and 7 percent, though many of them are Roman Catholic, with Protestant percentages being much smaller. The United Methodist figures confirm the low national figures. In 2005, 405 United Methodist churches met this definition of multiracial, 1½ percent of the churches. By 2009, the number had grown to 541 and 2 percent of the total. Even with the low percentages, there was a gain of 136 multiracial churches in the four years.
Lovett H. Weems, Jr.
Save the Date — Reach New Disciples Conference Set for November 5, 2011
To help churches fulfill their call, the Lewis Center will offer the Reach New Disciples Conference on Saturday, November 5, at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. This conference is for all laity and clergy who wish to strengthen their churches' efforts to reach new disciples. The focus will be on helping congregations connect with people in their larger communities. Additional information and registration details will be available in early September.
Free Webinar — Expand Your Church's Income Sources
Does your church have income sources that could be enhanced? What income sources are other churches using that might benefit your congregation? To help you answer these vital questions, the Lewis Center invites you to a free Expand Your Church's Income Sources Webinar on Thursday, September 22, from 2-3 p.m. Eastern. You will learn about a range of income sources available for churches and will receive worksheets and instructions to help you assess which sources make the most sense for your congregation. Space is limited, so please register for this webinar today.
Resources To Help You Understand Your Community
There are many resources available to help churches as they strive to connect with the people of their communities. The Congregational Resource Guide identifies many such resources in "Census, Congregation, and Community."
Funding Your Church's Vision Conference Heads to Northern Illinois
The Lewis Center's popular Funding Your Church's Vision stewardship conference heads to Naperville, Illinois, on August 27. Additionally, six sites will live-stream the event, which is sponsored by the Northern Illinois United Methodist Foundation. Click here for more information and to register.
Apply for Wesley Seminary's Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership
Wesley Theological Seminary is accepting applications from those seeking doctoral study in church leadership. The next cohort begins in May 2012. Students receive enhanced knowledge, skills, and motivation to lead the church toward service, vitality, and growth. Theological disciplines and contemporary leadership studies are engaged to enhance the fruitful practice of leadership. The combined resources of the Wesley faculty, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, and guest faculty bring depth and energy to this track. The application deadline is December 1, 2011. Click here for more information.
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