Friday, July 30, 2010

Statistics and Stories

A few weeks ago I was reading one of our denomination’s magazines Presbyterians Today and came across some statistics about Presbyterians that I found interesting. Did you know?
  • The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) consists of 2.1 million members in over 10,700 congregations found in every state including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

  • Half of congregations consist of 100 members or less and only 13 congregations have over 4,000 members.
    Nationally, average weekly attendance is 1.1 million.

  • One in 3 active ministers are women (32%).

  • The median age for both members and elders is 60 years; of pastors, 53 years.

  • Most Presbyterians (59%) grew up in another denomination.

  • Most members (74%), elders (84%), and pastors (86%) are married.

  • Most members (64%) and elders (66%) are college graduates. All ministers have a master’s degree, and more than a quarter have doctoral degrees.

I have some thoughts about these statistics. As a denomination the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is larger than I thought we were. Just think each week there are 1.1 million Presbyterians worshipping God the U.S.A.! That’s a lot of people all worshiping God and this number doesn’t even include all the other Christians.

While we probably all knew this, we are a denomination of older adults. This means while we want to attract young adults and families we must not forget the older members who are already here and in the case of FPC very active. As a congregation we need to minister to and with both older and younger adults as well as families. All God’s children are an important part of the FPC family.

Unlike me, a life long Presbyterian, most of our brothers and sisters in the Presbyterian Church grew up in another denomination. They are not “tied” to the Presbyterian Church. They probably did not choose FPC because we are Presbyterian but rather because we are a friendly and vibrant congregation. They could just have easily chosen to attend Hudson UMC, Faith Community or any of the other churches in town.

While I find these statistics fascinating, I do not want to get bogged down by them. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and First Presbyterian Church are more that statistics. As they say, behind every statistics is a story. We grow in relationship with one another and God through sharing our stories. I believe it is one of the most important acts of faith we do daily. When we truly listen to another’s story and they to ours we grow.

This is one reason our Adult Education theme for 2010-2011 is A year with the Bible. The Bible is the story of God interacting with the world. During the 2010-2011 Program Year we will learn and be in conversation with some of these stories and with one another. The stories of the Bible will become important conversation partners as we continue to grow in our relationship with God. I want to challenge this congregation to make a commitment to attending Sunday School and Adult Education! May we be a congregation who tells the story of God’s people through out history!

No comments:

Post a Comment