State of the Church 2012

How's your church doing? How's the Church doing? Every year, Group talks to and surveys thousands of ministry leaders at every level to keep our finger on the pulse of today's church in North America. Read on to discover the state of the church in 2012.

Children's Ministry

Curious about the true power and effect of children’s ministry in your church? Look no further—we’ve got exclusive, hot-off-the-presses research that’ll re-chart your thinking.
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Any advocate of children's ministry can attest to the value of good programs, people, and support in a child's life. But so often, children's ministry is viewed as a background ministry…not a core function of the church. This can have substantial impact on your ministry in terms of budget, staffing, and flat-out respect. If decision makers in your church believe that children's ministry is of no or little import in your church, then that translates to low budgets, struggling programs, and discouragement.

Things don't have to be like this. In an effort to uncover the true impact of your ministry, Group's 2012 State of the Church dug deep into the influence and effects of Children's Ministry. Group's State of the Church is an annual research project intended to capture a real-time snapshot of what's happening in churches. The State of the Church focuses on a different topic relevant to ministry each year. MORE...

 

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Youth Ministry

The eye-opening results from our annual survey of more than 20,000 Christian teenagers reveal what they’d love more of from your ministry, and what they could do without. Their top choice will surprise you, but their bottom choice may shock you.
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I was in Canada, leading a mix of adults and teenagers through an experience I call "Jesus-Centered Ministry." Three-quarters of the way through the experience I had trios focus on an assigned scripture passage that offered a little taste of Jesus. I asked groups to imagine that their unique passage was the only description they had of Jesus. On that basis, I challenged them to craft a descriptive statement about him that started with "Jesus is…"

As group after group stood to proclaim their "Jesus is…" statement, I wrote each one on a flip-chart at the front of the room. I've done this many times now, and typically it's a rapid-fire process that, most often, morphs into a worship experience. On this day in Canada, the momentum started slow and gathered steam toward the end. It was right about then that a teenage girl stood and shouted her trio's response: "Jesus is a badass!" Then she sat down.

There was what you might call a weighty pause-the room was full of very conservative adults from a very conservative denomination.  MORE...

 

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Adult Ministry

Every year, Groups invests time, energy, and resources assessing the state of the church. As we interviewed (or met for coffee…or had lunch with) many of our friends in ministry, we made it our goal to discover the biggest dreams and challenges you face.
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The top three challenges you shared are:

1. Finding (and keeping) committed volunteers

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked with volunteers. If we put either of these tasks on cruise control, we will make our jobs harder in the long run.

To master this challenge, we must always watch for fresh ideas and approaches for recruiting, training, and recognizing our volunteers.

2. Getting everything done

As we've listened to those in ministry, it's obvious that most of them feel stretched too thin and pulled in too many directions. Balancing church and family, doing vs. delegating, babysitting instead of leading. There is a constant tug-of-war going on for our priorities, our brains, our time, and even our emotions. MORE...

 

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Women's Ministry

What’s your biggest challenge in women’s ministry? What’s your dream for women’s ministry? Do you think about these questions a lot? Here at Group we think about them all the time.
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Each year all of the ministry areas at Group (such as youth ministry, children's ministry, and so on) do a really big research project called the State of the Church. Every year we focus on a different topic that's relevant to those in ministry. During 2011 we talked to hundreds of leaders and simply asked these two questions: What's your biggest challenge, and what's your dream? The results were interesting!

In the area of women's ministry, the biggest challenge is reaching younger women. This isn't a surprise to us-our research for the past four years has consistently shown that reaching women in their 20s and early 30s and bridging the gap between younger and older women is difficult. It's always at the top of your list of concerns. And our team at Group continues to present workshops on what we've discovered that works and to create resources that address those findings, as well. For example, we know that younger women generally are not interested in sitting and listening to speakers (whether live or on a DVD). Instead, they are highly interested in discussion, grappling with real-life issues, and sharing their own stories in authentic settings. So we continue to create resources that focus on small-group discussion, that don't require a speaker, and that allow each person to share from her own life instead of just hearing one person's insights. MORE...

 

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