A new report from The Barna Group, based on interviews with more than 3,000 adults, shows that congregational size is related to the nature of a congregation’s religious beliefs, religious behavior and demographic profile. There are clearly significant differences between the smallest and largest of Protestant churches in terms of the theological beliefs of adherents.
The survey results discovered the following:
■On 17 indicators of religious belief and behavior examined in the research there were statistically significant differences between churches of 100 or fewer adult attenders and churches of 1000 or more adult attenders. The only item tested in which there was not a distinction was whether the church attender had prayed during the past week.
■On all 9 of the belief statements tested, attenders of large churches were more likely than those engaged in a small or mid-sized congregation to give an orthodox biblical response – e.g., the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches, Satan is not merely symbolic but exists, Jesus led a sinless life, God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe, etc.
■On seven of the eight behavioral measures, attenders of large churches were substantially more likely than those of small churches to be active. (These included behaviors such as attending church in the past week, reading the Bible in the past week, volunteering at their church in the past week, etc.) The average difference related to these seven behaviors was 17 percentage points.
For the full report go to http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/289-how-faith-varies-by-church-size
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