The United Methodist Church has released a study for which they paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to find out what makes vital churches.
The church recently concluded a study of more than 32,000 Methodist congregations across North America, seeking the "key factors impacting vital congregations." The study surveyed everybody from bishops to district superintendents to people in the pews.
They identified four factors that “fuel vitality”:
- Small groups and programs;
- Worship services that mix traditional and contemporary styles with an emphasis on relevant sermons;
- Pastors who work hard on mentorship and cultivation of the laity;
- An emphasis on effective lay leadership.
I find it interesting that they discovered four of the eight characteristics that Christian Schwartz identified in his monumental Natural Church Development study of a few years back:
- Empowering leadership
- Gift-oriented ministry
- Passionate spirituality
- Functional structures
- Inspiring worship service
- Holistic small groups
- Need-oriented evangelism
- Loving relationships
While there is a not a direct correlation between “Pastors who work hard on mentorship and cultivation of the laity” and NCD, that characteristic could manifest itself under either Gift oriented ministry and/or loving relationships.
Whatever you think of the survey, the article is at least worth being aware of. Find it here.