Study Finds Congregational Growth, Vitality Are Tied to Contemporary Worship
According to a new independent report on changing worship practices in the United States, congregations that have adopted innovative worship and contemporary worship styles are significantly more likely to have grown in the last five years and to have attracted young adults.
- Non-denominational congregations and those from historically Black denominations have led the way in introducing contemporary worship styles and instruments and other innovations.
- Sunday morning remains the most common time for worship, but congregations are adding evening services.
- Change continues to occur slowly. When asked how much they had changed in the last five years, nearly half of all congregations said they had not changed at all.
- In most faith groups, innovation in worship is more typical of the West and South.
- Decreasing average attendance at worship is the biggest difference since 2000. The median size of the congregation decreased in every Christian denomination group.
- Congregations with contemporary worship elements are more likely than others to be rated as vital.
- Several characteristics of worship were positively related to growth in attendance between 2005 and 2010 – multiple worship services; worship described as joyful, innovative and inspirational; and the use of drums, electric guitars, and projection equipment.