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“Flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you.” Matt. 2:13

Meet the Staff

Helping the church make fact-based decisions

Research Services helps congregations, presbyteries, synods, seminaries and other entities of the denomination learn more about themselves and their constituencies. 

Find out more about Research Services.

Thriving Congregations: What are they doing right?

Thriving congregations are not always large congregations. Nor are they always growing congregations. Yet there is something about them that inspires and invites. Through stories of thriving congregations, you’ll learn (and possibly share) some of the most prominent characteristics of thriving congregations. Get ready to be inspired!

Click here for PowerPoint presentation

Do you want to serve the Church by taking occasional surveys?

We're currently seeking volunteers!

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Cover of the Comparative Statistics report

Comparative Statistics 2013

Comparative Statistics is published annually and summarizes data on PC(USA) membership and finances provided by each congregation to the Office of the General Assembly via the Session Annual Statistical Report. Information about teaching elders including where they serve is also included.

The report shows trends in areas such as membership gains and losses, receipts and expenditures, and number of ministers.

Download the entire report or see individual Comparative Statistics 2013 tables

A hard copy is also available through Presbyterian Distribution Services, order item PDS 20056-13035.   For questions, please email Research Services or call 800-728-7228 x5159

2014 Comparative Statistics is forthcoming. It will be released by the end of 2015.

What Changes Have Occurred in Your Presbytery?

Presbytery Ten-Year Trends will help you answer that question.  Now updated with 2012 information for every congregation in the presbytery, these 16 tables and seven figures will provide an overview of presbytery change.  Data covers the period of 2002 to 2012 to be able to see ten year changes in sizes of congregations in the presbytery and in contributions over the past ten years, for example.  Learn whether the race ethnicity of members, ruling elders, deacons, and teaching elders is changing.  See congregations in the presbytery ranked based on growth in membership and worship attendance. 

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Presbytery Ten-Year Trends will help answer that question with information updated for 2012 for every congregation in the presbytery. Examine the average size of congregations over the past ten years. Learn about changes in the race ethnicity of members and teaching elders. See congregations in the presbytery ranked based on growth in membership. 

What’s Going on in Congregations?

Check out recent research on congregations from the two newest staff members in Research Services.  The links connect to PDFs of the PowerPoint presentations.

Congregations Leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), by Joelle Kopacz (M.A., UW-Milwaukee, 2008), Jack Marcum, and Ida Smith.
Since 2006, more than 300 congregations, with a total of around 100,000 members, have left the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). What are the unique characteristics of these congregations, and what are the implications of this trend for the denomination?

Yeast Makes the Bread Rise:  How the Great Banquet Renewal Movement Could Help Revitalize Mainline Congregations, by Deb Coe (Ph.D., Purdue, 2011). 
Like its better-known cousins, Cursillo and Walk to Emmaus, the Great Banquet is a program designed to bring about personal and spiritual renewal.  Learn the intriguing findings from this in-depth study of two participating PC(USA) congregations. 

The ‘Dark Side’ of Congregational Context:  Small Groups and Civic Engagement, by Andrew Whitehead (Ph.D., Baylor, 2012). 
Church-goers are widely thought to be more civically engaged than their non-church-going counterparts, but little is known about how the popular phenomenon of small groups factors into this equation.  What consequences does small group participation at individual and congregational levels have for civic engagement?  The answer may surprise you.

Test Your Bible Knowledge!

How well do you know the Bible? Here's your chance to find out. Click here to download a file with several dozen questions that originally appeared on a 2011 Presbyterian Panel survey. A separate document provides the correct responses.

The document actually includes two sets of overlapping questions, a (relatively) easy set for people in the pew, and a more difficult one designed for ministers. Try them both!

Then, when you're done, go here to see how your responses compare with those of representative samples of Presbyterians who took the quiz as part of the Presbyterian Panel.


The Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about the PC(USA)

We are asked many questions about the denomination. Brief answers to some of the more frequent questions are provided.

Learn more

A Snapshot of Presbyterians

By Andrew Browne (Board of Pensions) and Deborah Bruce (Research Services)

This PowerPoint presentation was given in plenary at the 22oth General Assembly (2012) in Pittsburgh and contains demographic information about Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) membership, worshipers, congregations, and participants in the benefits plan.


New Presbyterian Churches Report

How are new PC(USA) churches different from others? What do their worshipers say about their experiences there? What strengths do these congregations have?

We recently invited the newest Presbyterian churches (organized between 1990 and 2009) to take part in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. See what we learned from the responses of their worshipers and the pastors of these churches in our new resource: New Presbyterian Congregations.




Fastest Growing Presbyterian Churches

How are fast growing PC(USA) churches different from others? What do their worshipers say about their experiences there? What strengths do these congregations have?

We recently invited the fastest growing Presbyterian churches to take part in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. See what we learned from the responses of over 8,000 worshipers and the pastors of these churches in our new resource: Fastest Growing Presbyterian Churches.




Who are we Presbyterians?

The Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2011 answers this question. The profile is based on the responses of nearly 4,000 participants in the 2012-2014 Presbyterian Panel.

Every three years the PC(USA) Research Services staff assembles a new Panel from representative samples of members, ruling elders and teaching elders (also known as ministers).  We first ask these Presbyterians broad questions about their beliefs, demographic characteristics, and religious practices and summarize their responses in the new profile.

Interesting results from the fall 2011 survey include:

  • The median age of ruling elders climbed from 58 in 2005 to 62.
  • More than three-quarters of members over the age of 25 are married.
  • Presbyterians remain predominantly white and college-educated.



Profile of PC(USA) congregations in 2010

This snapshot provides an up-to-date view of the programs, finances, leaders and participants in PC(USA) congregations based on a survey of a random sample of PC(USA) congregations. The survey was part of the larger Faith Communities Today (FACT) 2010 study of 10,000 congregations from 100 Christian denominations and other faith groups in the United States.


Update what you know about Presbyterians

A Field Guide to Presbyterian Congregations: Who’s Going Where and Why

Conducted by the PC(USA) Research Services office, the U.S. Congregational Life Survey tallied responses from 40,000 worshipers in a national study of Presbyterian congregations.  In the fall of 2008 and the spring of 2009 a random sample of 521 PC(USA) congregations participated in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey.  The survey was given in worship and included the responses of all worshipers age 15 and older.  In 2001, a random sample of 523 PC(USA) congregations participated. 

A  Guide to Presbyterian Congregations:  Who’s Going Where and Why (available through Presbyterian Distribution Services, order item 02056-10100) presents findings from the survey.  The resource is a companion piece to A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations, previously released by Presbyterian Publishing Corporation).


The Top 10 most frequently asked questions about the PC(USA)

We are asked many questions about the denomination. Here are brief answers to some of the more frequent questions.

Go Figure From the august issue of Presbyterians Today

What seminary can do for you

Deborah Coe & Andrew Whitehead



Read past Go Figure articles


  • Fight with the Federal government over what? by Irvin Richards on 06/06/2012 at 5:23 p.m.

  • I believe it would be GREAT if we (PC/USA) would join the Catholic Church in our fight with the Federal government. Thank you by J. Budd Bell on 05/23/2012 at 10:21 p.m.