Jan 29 2015

Stories From the Spreadsheet: Chapter Two – 2013 Stats – VBS, Sunday School, Confirmation, and Christian Formation

This chapter looks at the statistics that relate to the area usually referred to as Christian education or Christian formation. Since I believe that the church teaches in everything that it does (credit the influence of Howard Grimes and Dick Murray), a case could be made that every statistic relates to Christian formation. However, for this chapter we will focus on Sunday school, Vacation Bible 
School (VBS), confirmation, short-term classes, on-going classes other than Sunday school, and day care.

As with most chapters, the statistics given are based on churches with at least five members. First let’s look at raw numbers and how they compare to 2012.

• Average Sunday school attendance: 1,033,381 (A decrease of 4.1% from 2012)
• Number of Sunday school classes: 147,849 (An increase of 6.6% from 2012)
• Number of on-going classes other than Sunday school: 91,176 (A decrease of .07% from 2012)
• Number of short term classes: 83,247 (A decrease of 5.8% from 2012)
• Number served by daycare ministries: 1,176,486 (An increase of 1.9% from 2012)
• Number attending VBS: 1,130,301 (A decrease of .99%)
• Number in confirmation classes: 64,061 (A decrease of 7.7%)

• Total participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries:2,939,599 (An increase of .84% from 2012)
• Children participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries:785,047 (A decrease of .22% from 2012)
• Youth participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries:430,990 (A decrease of 2% from 2012)
• Young adults participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: 201,958 (An increase of 3.5% from 2012)
• Other adults participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: 1,521,604 (An increase of 1.9% from 2012)


A Five Year Comparison

Now let’s take a longer view and see how the 2013 numbers compare to the statistics five years earlier (2009).


• Average Sunday school attendance: A net decrease of 159,410 or a decrease of 13.4%
• Number of Sunday school classes: A net decrease of 16,815 or a decrease of 10%
• Number of on-going classes other than Sunday school: A net decrease of 4235 or a decrease of 4.4%
• Number of short term classes: A net decrease of 18,313 or a decrease of 18%
• Number served by daycare ministries: A net increase of 368,103 or an increase of 45.5%
• Number attending VBS: A net increase of 46,805 or an increase of 4.3%
• Number in confirmation classes: A net decrease of 14,149 or a decrease of 18.1%

• Total participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: An increase of 293,399 or an increase of 11%
• Children participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: Net increase of 65,762 or an increase of 2.5%
• Youth participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: Net increase of 10,206 or an increase of 2.4%
• Young adults participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: Net increase of 13,939 or an increase of 7.4%
• Other adults participating in Christian formation groups and other small group ministries: Net increase of 203,492 or an increase of 15.4%


Things I Noticed

• There has been a huge increase in the number served by daycare ministries over a five year period.
• Average Sunday school attendance has decreased significantly while the total number of people involved in Sunday school and other small groups has increased, particularly  among adults.
• Over five years there has been a fairly large drop in the number of short term classes.
• Over five years Vacation Bible School participation has increased.


Things I Wonder About

• Over the past five years there has been an increase in the number of youth and children participating in Christian formation and other small group ministries, yet over the same time there has been a large decrease in the number of people in confirmation classes. I wonder what that indicates about our intentionality in nurturing baptized members “in Christ’s holy Church, that by our teaching and example they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly, and to lead a Christian life.” (BOW p.96)

• I wonder if the continuing decrease in average Sunday school attendance is an indication that people aren’t joining classes or that they are attending less frequently? The increase in total numbers coupled with the decrease in average attendance makes me think that frequency of attendance may be a subject that needs more study.









Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2015/01/chapter-two-2013-stats-vbs-sunday-school-confirmation-and-christian-formation/

Jan 29 2015

General Board of Global Ministries: US-2: Spiritual and Vocational Discernment

A look at the affiliate model of the US-2 young adult missionary program.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2015/01/us-2-spiritual-and-vocational-discernment-2/

Jan 29 2015

Allan R. Bevere: Prayer– Wanting What God Wants

…when we pray, “Your will be done,” we are not asking that things come out right as we want things to come out, but rather we are asking that God’s will be done. Too often, we are conditioned to think of prayer as asking God for what we want–dear Go…

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2015/01/prayer-wanting-what-god-wants/

Jan 29 2015

Threads from Henry's Web — Threads from Henry's Web: According to John: He Who Follows Me … Will Have the Light of Life

My Bible study tonight done via Google Hangouts on Air, will be on the topic in the title. I’m going to be following up from my discussion of vocabulary last week in looking at the words “light” and “life” in the gospel of John and how they relate to our understanding of the book’s message.

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Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2015/01/according-to-john-he-who-follows-me-will-have-the-light-of-life/

Jan 29 2015

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Thayer Thursday – Jesus and the Fig Tree

Chris Thayer is the Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC where he oversees adult life groups and Biblical education. On Thursdays I share his weekly “Thayer’s Thoughts” for small group leaders, which are based on the previous Sunday’s sermon. Click HERE to watch or listen to the accompanying sermon.   Mark […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2015/01/thayer-thursday-jesus-and-the-fig-tree/

Jan 29 2015

General Board of Global Ministries: DRC: Solid Improvements in Health

A five-year collaboration in Democratic Republic of Congo is yielding improved health and healthcare.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2015/01/drc-solid-improvements-in-health/

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