Louisville

The majority of worshiping community participants in the 1001 movement are young, racially diverse, and new to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

These are some of the findings in a recently completed worshiping community leaders survey, conducted by Research Services of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

The survey polled leaders from known worshiping communities and new immigrant fellowships within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including recently organized congregations that identify as worshiping communities. Major findings include:

  • 43% are ages 19-39, an additional 9% are ages 13-18
  • 53% are racial ethnic communities
  • Up to 77% are new to the denomination

 The survey also found that 44 percent of the participants had:

  • Not attended church within the last five years (20%)
  • No previous religious affiliation (17%)
  • Were of a non-Christian faith (7%)

In addition, 33 percent had previously participated in churches of other denominations.

“People who have completely given up on church, and mostly on God, are discovering a renewed passion for faith,” said one new worshiping community leader in the survey.

“They are now growing in their relationship with God,” said another.

The survey shows that worshiping communities are diverse, both in makeup and where they gather. Sixty-eight percent have more than 20 percent racial ethnic participation. Participants are White, Hispanic-Latino-a, Asian, Black or African American, African Immigrant, Middle Eastern and Multiracial.

The majority of communities, 57 percent, gather in homes, bars or pubs, in coffee shops, at schools, offices, restaurants, community centers, libraries and movie theaters, or in space provided by another denomination. Forty-three percent meet in a church or in space provided by a congregation.

“These results from the most comprehensive study to date of worshiping communities is great news,” says 1001 New Worshiping Communities acting coordinator Vera White.

“They reveal how this grass roots movement is changing the face of our denomination, helping us creatively find ways to reach young adults and racial ethnic minorities. “

Editors Note: Inspired by the 1001 New Worshiping Communitiesinitiative, the leaders survey is part of a broader, longitudinal study designed to collect information on all communities of faith connected with the PC(USA) that are not yet organized congregations.

This article highlights some of the initial findings about these worshiping communities. Future articles will contain more information on what the PC(USA) is learning about the varied forms of church and their impact on the denomination.