UCC Church to be Featured in Book on Ecumenical Congregations

This summer, one UCC congregation, First Federated Church of North Jackson, Ohio, will participate in an ethnographic study of ecumenical congregations. Ecumenical congregations, also known as multiply-affiliated congregations, possess affiliations with one or more denominations. (For more detail on the specific types and descriptions of affiliation in the UCC, check out this earlier post.) First Federated Church…

How do you measure a congregation’s health?

I’ve served as a pastor in three different UCC churches, ranging from California to Minnesota to Virginia. Each of the congregations I’ve served has had its own personality. Still, they’ve had something in common with a great many churches: an uneasy relationship with measurement. Should we track the effectiveness of our ministries in measurable ways?…

Dones, Dechurched and Church Refugees

A few months ago, I posted an announcement about a research project conducted by Dr. Josh Packard, our partner at the University of Northern Colorado, and Ashleigh Hope, CARD’s 2014 research intern. I’m excited to announce that there are some significant updates on this study, including the June 1 release of their book! The release of…

Statistical Margins

I have always been drawn to the statistical margins or, on the bell curve, to the sloping narrow edges of trends and groups. For instance, I was in the small group in Middle School that grew faster and taller than our peers. On the upside, I could walk down the hallway and see over everyone’s…

NEW REPORT: Congregational Vitality and Ministerial Excellence

The UCC’s Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD) recently completed a year-long preliminary study examining the relationship between congregational vitality and ministerial excellence. You can find it here! The conclusions provide important points of consideration for churches, ministers, and leaders who educate and train pastors. I encourage you to forward this report to you…

“Guide My Feet”

Five years ago when I left my previous call in Central Pennsylvania, a historian friend of mine pulled me aside to wish me well in my new pastorate, a congregation some 15 miles from Pittsburgh. He reminded me that, at one time, crossing the Alleghenies meant going into the mission field. He wanted me to…

Introducing New Blog Contributors

I am very pleased to introduce six new blog contributors to Vital Signs & Statistics! Each of these UCC ordained ministers brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and–most of all–passion for applying research and statistics to the practice of ministry. So without further ado, here is a little bit about each blogger. Rev. Joseph Hedden:…