Smaller Congregations Generally Fared Better from 2002-2004
As we begin to receive voluntary updates from churches in advance of the 2005 church survey, one trend that appears to be emerging is that our smaller congregations experienced fewer losses as a share of membership in 2003-2004, and many of them are now growing again.
The following charts illustrate the difference between congregations with more than 100 members and those with 100 or fewer members at the end of 2002. This analysis doesn't negate the very real need of many of the smallest churches among us for more fellowship and assistance. It does give us hope that many of these small groups remain healthy and vibrant, and perhaps because of their size and often relative isolation may be untapped sources of ministry innovation.
Latest Updates on the International Churches of Christ
Notes About the Data
The above analysis includes 326 churches that reported membership at both the end of 2002 and 2004. Churches comprising well over 90% of the 2002 membership of the churches voluntarily provided end-2004 membership. Churches started after the end of 2002, or churches that created newly self-governing churches from their existing memberships (such as those in Boston, London and Washington, D.C.) were not included, to avoid overstating "losses" among the largest churches.