After five years of intense testing, the Hartford Institute for Religious Research released the most comprehensive study of religion in the United States ever published in a special ceremony today at Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. The Faith Communities Today (FACT) study features the compiled statistical information of 41 denominations and faith
groups–including the Assemblies of God.
The FACT study, the result of a survey of over 14,300 congregations, covers five key areas: Sources of Unity and Cohesion; Growth, Change and Conflict; Congregational Life; Congregational Resources; and Leadership.
"This is a significant study that pastors, boards and laypeople can learn from and apply to their church situations," says Assemblies of God Statistician and FACT Key Researcher Sherri Doty. "Anyone can access this information to see how America is changing, or not changing, in a multitude of religious 'life and activity' areas."
Although the study is extremely useful for identifying trends and the direction of religion in the United States, it is also an excellent resource for identifying trends and the direction of the U.S. Assemblies of God.
"The online workbook will allow people to not only compare their congregation and church to the entire study's findings," explains Doty, "it will also allow them to narrow their focus and compare and contrast their church to just Assemblies of God [U.S.] results. I believe many A/G congregations will find this aspect of the study very beneficial."
Some of the findings include a correlation between placing an emphasis on high moral standards and good financial health of congregations, the younger a congregation the higher clarity of purpose exists, and that over half of all congregations were organized before 1945. "As was expected," Doty adds, "when you look just at the A/G findings, you'll find our congregations are younger, with half of our congregations who responded to the survey organized before 1957."
According to Doty, there are hundreds of results along with summaries of those results available online. For those interested in reading more about the FACT report, see http://fact.hartsem.edu . For those with questions concerning the report and its reflection upon the Assemblies of God, contact Key Teacher Efraim Espinoza at (417) 862-2781 or the Key Researcher at firstname.lastname@example.org