February 21, 2023

The Differences Between Growing & Declining Churches (Q1 2023 Unstuck Church Report)

the differences between growing & declining churches

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    Quarterly Unstuck Church Report

Download the Q1 2023 Unstuck Church Report

Every quarter, The Unstuck Group compiles all the data weā€™ve collected to monitor trends in churches in the United States and around the world. For this quarterā€™s report, we only included churches that provided data during the four weeks between January 4 and February 1, 2023.

We received survey responses from 349 churches that ranged in size from under 100 to over 7,000 in physical attendance for worship gatherings. This provides a very current snapshot of ministries of all shapes and sizes.

The Differences Between Growing & Declining/Plateaued Churches

Though overall attendance is up more than 20% in the churches we surveyed, that really tells only part of the story. Among all the churches that responded to the survey, about one in five of those churches is plateaued or facing an attendance decline. What stood out to me were some of the key differences between the growing churches and those that are in decline. For example:

  • Growing churches are more likely to have small groups and more people connected to those smaller groups while declining churches are more likely to have Sunday school.
  • Declining churches have fewer people making decisions to follow Jesus or getting baptized.
  • Declining churches have far fewer first-time connections to the churchā€”indicating that theyā€™ve become insider-focused.
  • Growing churches spend less on paid staff and have more volunteer engagement.
  • Declining churches are more likely to be connected to a denomination.

Get Your FREE Copy of The Q1 2023 Unstuck Church Report

the unstuck church report q1 2023

Alongside data on the distinctions between growing and declining/plateaued churches, this quarter’s Unstuck Church Report consists of 20 metrics that highlight trends with an impact on church health. We focus on 4 key areas to give you benchmarks and an objective look at where the Church may be headed:

  • Ministry Reach
  • Ministry Connection
  • Ministry Staffing & Structure
  • Ministry Finances

The report also features updated data on the church lifecycle, a summary of the data by church size, and additional insights from report sponsor Christian Financial Resources.

Subscribe today and get The Unstuck Church Report for free each quarter:

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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