Who We Are and What We Do
Research Services provides a wide variety of services including articles and reports, demographics information, statistics, program evaluations and Ten-Year Trends. Here are some additional services we can provide your congregation.
- Listening to the Church
- Research & Evaluation Expertise
- Genealogical Research
- Research Data
- Frequently Asked Questions
Part of our mission is to seek feedback from the denomination. Help us in that effort by letting us know what's on your mind:
- If you have a specific research question, we'll try to find an answer. (For more general questions, contact PresbyTel — the reference desk for the PCUSA — providing answers to questions from members, elders, ministers, and others about the denomination's resources and materials, programs, policies, and conferences and other events. PresbyTel can be reached at (800) 872-3283 or send email to: PresbyTel.
- If you have questions or feedback about our work, please let us know. Send such comments to: Research Services.
- We're also interested in what you think of our home page and how we could improve it. Send your feedback.
Research and Evaluation Expertise
The office of Research Services provides quality service to all entities of the denomination to help the church understand itself and to monitor the larger society in which it is located.
Research Services can provide services in:
- program and process evaluation
- congregational self-assessments and member surveys
- meeting and conference evaluations
- needs assessment
- census data analysis
- evaluations of church entities
- focus groups
- customer satisfaction surveys
- resource evaluations
- pre-testing of new resources
- trend analysis
For information about research capabilites, email Jack Marcum (Coordinator of Research Services).
We are sorry, but Research Services does not provide genealogical research assistance. If you are trying to trace your family tree or to gather information about your relatives, we can suggest several sources.
There are several helpful web pages that you might try:
- Archives: information on online genealogy helps, software, newsgroups and mailing lists, libraries and research societies, books, and events
- The Rootsweb Genealogical Data Cooperative
- Geneology.com: from the makers of Family Tree Maker software
- GenSource: Advanced Resources for Successful Geneology
If you are trying to gather information about someone who was a minister or mission worker in the Presbyterian Church, you can also contact the Department of History in Philadelphia. Their telephone number is (215) 627-1852. Or you can send mail to: Presbyterian Historical Society (formerly the Department of History), 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Their website provides additional information about their services, but they do not accept email requests at this time.
Data from the Presbyterian Panel, Comparative Statistics, and Clerks Annual Questionnaire are available for use by presbyteries, synods, and congregations. In addition, we are willing to make these data available to researchers interested in conducting secondary analyses.
All files are available for a minimal fee in spreadsheet or data base format (e.g., Paradox, EXCEL, etc.) or in SPSS-X format.
For information about available data or to order specific files, please contact Ida Smith-Williams.
Data from the Presbyterian Panel and denominational data are also available from the American Religion Data Archive.
We also have a wealth of resources available to congregations who want to know about their congregations and/or about their local communities. Our Help for Congregations page describes these resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can we learn more about our worshipers? Go to Help for Congregations.
- How can we learn more about our community? Data on communities are available at Research Services' Demographics site and the Religious Congregations and Membership site (click on "GIS Maps" in the right hand column).
- Where can I find information about what Presbyterians think about a particular issue? This type of information can be found under Presbyterian Panel.
- Do you do Genealogical Research? No, please see the section above on Genealogical research.
- Can you help me locate my baptism or my parents' marriage certificate records? No, please contact the Presbyterian Historical Society.
- Can you help me contact a retired minister friend of mine (or a former pastor) from 20 years ago? Yes, the Minister Inquiry Search will allow you to find the current address of Presbyterian ministers. If you do not find what you need there, send a request to Ida Smith-Williams and if the minister has not died or transferred to another denomination Ida will help you with contact information.
- I want to know more about a congregation I am thinking of joining (or serving). Do you have information on individual congregations? Yes, go to Research Services' Ten-Year Trends site.
- Can you tell me whether my community has more Presbyterians or more Lutherans? Yes, Religious Congregations and Membership data has this information. (click on “U.S. Congregational Membership Report” on the left side).
- Can you help us with the problem we are having with our Pastor? No, please contact the Office of Vocation [by email or phone: (800) 728 7228, x5753], the Ministry Committees/Commission (formerly Committee on Ministry), your presbytery executive, or the Stated Clerk's Office.
- How can we get the mistakes corrected in data you list for our congregation on the Ten-Year Trend Report? Have the stated clerk of your presbytery send us the correct data.
- Our church is located in the wrong place on the Research Services' Demographics site. How can we get that corrected? Contact Ida Smith-Williams. If there are other mistakes please contact Jack Marcum.
- Can you help us resolve the conflict in our congregation? No, please contact Dosie Powell [by email or phone: (800) 728 7228, x5503] for suggestions. You may also want to contact your presbytery Committee on Ministry for help.
- Can you provide us salary information for clergy? No, but the Office of Vocation provides presbytery compensation minimums and the Board of Pensions provides annual salary information (look for "Salaries" under the "Forms and Publications" link). If you want additional information on salaries, contact the Board of Pensions (800) 773-7752.
- How can I repay Research Services for all the help they have provided? We are in the process of developing a Research endowment fund. For the time being you may send a check to Research Services PC(USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202; please specify Research Services Endowment on your check.
I believe what you are looking for are results to a question that has appeared on several Presbyterian Panel surveys over the years, most recently in the fall of 2011, in the form of a statement--"Only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved"--to which folks responded their agreement or disagreement. Indeed, only minorities of members (41%), ruling elders (45%) and pastors (41%) agree. However, it's also true that only minorities DISAGREE with the same statement (35%, 31%, and 45%, respectively). That's because a sizable share of respondents in each group respond "neutral or not sure" (23%; 24%; 15%). So while it is correct to state that fewer than half of Presbyterians agree with that statement, that's not because a majority reject it. Some do, but many are not sure what they believe on this issue. The report presenting these results may be found here: http://www.pcusa.org/media/uploads/research/pdfs/presbyterian_panel_survey_fall_2011_religious_and_demographic_profile_of_presbyterians.pdf
I recently heard that PCUSA research said that less than 50 percent of Presbyterian pastors, elders and members believe in Jesus and that he is necessary for salvation. Is that so? Please varify