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Church Member Profile 2006 The Brethren in Christ Church.

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Presentation on theme: "Church Member Profile 2006 The Brethren in Christ Church."— Presentation transcript:

1 Church Member Profile 2006 The Brethren in Christ Church

2 Overview Church Member Profile 2006 Builds on earlier work 1972 – Anabaptists Four Centuries Later 1989 – Mennonite Mosaic 2002 – General Conference Survey (BIC only)

3 Church Member Profile 2006 Churches Brethren in Christ Church of the Brethren Mennonite Church USA Young Center – Elizabethtown College – Don Kraybill – Director of Project Three sociologists

4 Church Member Profile surveys – Feb. to March 2006 Mail surveys (individuals but churches provide lists) Return rate – 70% Data available – Fall 2006 Reporting Begins – 2007 on

5 Why is this needed? To gain insight into past and present To aid in planning for the future – “Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take…” Jeremiah 31:21 [2010 to 2020]

6 Who Are the Brethren in Christ? Roots in Lancaster County Three traditions – Anabaptist Brethren/Pietist Wesleyan/Holiness

7 Who Are the Brethren in Christ? Approximately 84,000 members world wide in over 25 different countries 26,629 members in North America (2006) in 288 congregations Significant growth has occurred between 1972 and 2006

8 Brethren in Christ – Number of Congregations – No. America Congregational growth from 1972 to 2006 – from 151 to 288 Congregational growth – 190% in 34 years

9 Brethren in Christ - Membership Membership growth from 1972 to 2006 – 9730 to members Membership growth – 273% in 34 years

10 The CMP Survey Over 700 variables in the survey Approximately 40% of the questions are similar to 1989 CMP Incorporation of items from new denomination (Church of the Brethren) Incorporation of items from other national surveys (CNN, Gallup, ABC) Some editing of items for clarity and accuracy

11 The CMP Survey – Eight Categories My faith story Religious beliefs and practices Congregational life Family life and background The Larger Church Faith and Social Issues Faith and the Larger World Stewardship and Lifestyle

12 My Faith Story Accepted Christ as Savior and Lord? 99% yes; 67% a specific moment 89% would describe themselves as “born again” 97% say their faith is very important to them 93% believe God has a specific plan for their lives

13 My Faith Story 7 in 10 respondents describe their relationship to God as very close (31%) or close (38%) A slight majority (56%) of the BIC respondents say they were actually baptized in a non-Brethren in Christ church

14 Religious Beliefs and Practices Highly orthodox beliefs 93% believe that Jesus is both fully divine and fully God Jesus born of a virgin (99%) Jesus only way to God (88%)

15 Religious Beliefs and Practices Reject punitive view of the atonement (only 6% think Christ died to satisfy God’s anger against sin) Majority (63%) agree that “Salvation depends equally on one’s beliefs and how one lives”

16 Religious Beliefs and Practices – special emphasis: holiness See holiness as “surrendering one’s life fully to God” (78%) Sanctification was most often defined as “the process of becoming more Christ-like; it starts at conversion but continues as one grows in Christ” (66%)

17 Religious Beliefs and Practices The BIC see charismatic gifts as genuine gifts of God’s spirit even if they have not personally experienced such gifts (79%) About 36% report having received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and 29% report experiencing a miraculous healing

18 Religious Beliefs and Practices View of scripture: 97% see the Bible as the Word of God; more than half support a literal reading of the Bible (58%) BIC respondents see both the Old Testament and the New Testament as having equal authority (66%); a minority (34%) privilege the NT

19 Religious Beliefs and Practices 76% report praying daily 36% report reading the Bible daily 56% participate in small groups at least once a month 8 of 10 respondents attend church at least once a week Most popular self-designations: BIC (72%); spiritual (47%); evangelical (44%)

20 Congregational Life Respondents – average 15 years as members of BIC congregations 55% have been members in other non- BIC congregations While growing up, only 29% report having a parent who was a member of a BIC congregation

21 Congregational Life Strong support for “open communion” (88%) Majority believe adult baptism should be required of those baptized as infants (62%) Support of feetwashing as a symbol of humility and service (73%); as spiritually moving (26%) A minority see feetwashing as either outdated (5%) or awkward and uncomfortable (20%)

22 Congregational Life Strong majority (86%) agree that women can fill pastoral roles; about half of this group, though, felt that women should not be lead pastors (51%) Should a practicing homosexual be accepted as a member of their congregation? 79% said no

23 Family Life and Background Demographic information (sample) Female – 58% White – 94% Married – 81% Median age – 53 years old Lived same place 20+ yrs – 50% HS grad – 61% College grad – 28%

24 Family Life and Background Level of happiness in marriage 69% - very happy 21% - somewhat happy Occupations 36% Managerial/technical 27% Technical/administrative/sales 20% Retired Unfair treatment at church? 19% yes

25 The Larger Church Top four responses to the question: How are BICs different from other Christians? [open ended question] Close community, fellowship, family like Peace emphasis, anti-war, nonviolent Simple living, not materialistic Evangelistic, missional

26 The Larger Church Top Four Priorities (from a list of 8 in Vision 2010) Fervent prayer Healthy congregations Active compassion Leadership development Lowest priority – bold communication

27 The Larger Church Commitment to denomination Always want to be member – 37% Prefer BIC but could be in another – 42% Just as happy in another – 17% Considering leaving BIC – 4% Participation in ecumenical organizations? – 72% agree

28 Faith and Social Issues Support for affirmative action in hiring and promotion? 64% oppose such efforts Should church discuss and address racism? 74% say yes Is immigration a good thing? 61% yes; 39% no [immigration in general]

29 Faith and Social Issues Abortion – 82% oppose Cohabitation – 86% oppose US Govt Spending on environment 43% too little 40% about right amount 17% too much Euthanasia (self) – 73% oppose Death Penalty – 39% oppose

30 Faith and Social Issues List of 26 “social issues” – top five issues seen as always wrong: Extramarital sex Homosexual relations Pornographic materials X rated movies Premarital sex

31 Faith and Social Issues List of 26 “social issues” – lowest five issues seen as always wrong: Spanking children Marriage between different races Dancing Entering the armed forces Working as a police officer

32 Faith and the Larger World If confronted with the draft? 58% - military service 31% as regular military service 27% as non-combatant 25% - alternative service 15% - not sure 2% - refuse or not register

33 Faith and the Larger World “It is wrong for Christians to fight in any war.” – 75% disagree “Peacemaking is a central theme of the Gospel.” – 88% agree Has any member of your [immediate] family served in the military? 60% said yes

34 Faith and the Larger World In % of the BIC respondents voted for a presidential candidate Of this group, 88% voted for Bush 74% identify with the Republican party “The US did the right thing by going to war against Iraq.” 61% agree

35 Faith and the Larger World 92% support the mission of the Mennonite Central Committee 73% are satisfied with the program and emphases of the Mennonite Central Committee

36 Stewardship and Lifestyle 7 out of 10 BIC respondents report giving at least 10% to the church and charitable causes (estimated monthly contributions – $228) Over half of the households had incomes of over $50,000 Most had computers (78%), the internet (73%) and cell phones (82%)

37 Stewardship and Lifestyle How much stress do you feel from the pace of daily life? 5% very much 41% a fair amount 15% pretty much 35% a little bit 3% none

38 Stewardship and Lifestyle Top five temptations (from a list) Looking out for my own needs/interests Concerns about how I look Earning as much money as possible Enjoying popular movies, TV, music Getting the nicest home I can afford

39 Stewardship and Lifestyle Top five issues that concern you the most? (from a list) Erosion of family values Abortion Child abuse Sexual immorality Terrorism

40 The Past? Changes? – Some examples 1989 compared with 2006 Continuity and change Continuity: God exists: 92% 1989; 94% 2006 Jesus arose: 96% 1989; 98% 2006 Hell is real: 90% 1989; 95% 2006 BIC continue high level of orthodoxy

41 Changes? - continued Church attendance Attendance increases – 1989 – 66% at least once a week 2006 – 83% at least once a week Decline of multiple weekly services Attend more than once: 1989 – 46% Attend more than once: 2006 – 13%

42 Changes? - continued Divorced? 1989 – 6%; 2006 – 18% Cohabitate? 1989 – 6%; 2006 – 22% Church leaders should influence govt: 1989 – 67% agree; 2006 – 87% agree Noncombatant military service? 1989 – 72% agree; 2006 – 88% agree Women and careers? 1989 – 38% yes; 2006 – 61% yes

43 Moral Issues - Changes Issue Homosexual relations 94% wrong98% wrong Use of alcohol29% wrong52% wrong Use of marijuana 79% wrong98% wrong Dancing7% wrong26% wrong

44 Comparisons – BIC with National Samples Church attendance BIC – 83% attend weekly Gallup (2005) – 31% attend weekly CNN (2004) – 31% attend weekly Belief in God BIC – 94% no doubts GSS (2000) – 63% no doubts

45 Comparisons – BIC with National Samples Describe self as “born again”? BIC – 89% yes LA Times (2005) – 52% yes GSS (2005) – 48% yes Belief in Hell BIC – 95% yes FOX (2003) – 74% Newsweek (2002) – 60%

46 Comparisons – BIC with National Samples Party Affiliation BIC – 74% Repub. 13% Dem. Fox (2005) – 39% Repub. 41% Dem. Iraq War? Right Thing? BIC – 61% right thing (2006) ABC News – 48% right thing (2005) Princeton U – 46% right thing (2004)

47 Comparisons – BIC with National Samples General outlook (abortion) BIC – 90% pro life CNN (2005) – 42% pro life How happy is your marriage? BIC – 69% very happy GSS (2000) – 62% very happy

48 Concluding Observations Both continuity and change The Brethren in Christ continue to reflect religiously conservative, orthodox views in many areas (e.g. religious beliefs/practices) Some changes reflect the surrounding culture (e.g., divorce, some lifestyle issues) Evidence of some impact of conservative politics on Brethren in Christ views – especially on certain questions (increased voting, political participation and allegiance with the Republican party)


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