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Today in the Mission Yearbook

How churches use data to reveal mission and ministry opportunities

Do-it-yourself research tools for congregations

January 4, 2018

Jeffrey Lawrence

Presbyterians are known as belonging to a “thinking” denomination. Our Reformed theology emphasizes the importance of having an educated clergy and an informed laity, and we have a long tradition of involvement in education, with more than 50 Presbyterian colleges and universities.

The PC(USA) also has one of the largest denominational research offices in the country. Our Book of Order states that “truth is in order to goodness” (F-3.0104), and, as such, we are constantly discerning, learning and pursuing truth in order to put our faith into practice.

 Ministries of the PC(USA) use our Clerk’s Annual Questionnaire to discern information from congregations. These ministries also use our Presbyterian Panel to learn what Presbyterians want and need, providing the Church with insights into general practices, beliefs and opinions.

Mid councils and congregations use data to inform their ministry, too. Each year, the Office of the General Assembly collects data on congregations, which Research Services then shares with the denomination via our church Trends website (

And, finally, congregations have used our Congregational Life Survey to identify mission and outreach possibilities and often turn to Research Services to obtain demographic reports on their surrounding communities.

Today’s Focus:  Research Services

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rachel Bentley, PMA
Kendra Bright, PPC

Let us pray:

Dear God, help us to discern new mission opportunities and guide us in our work as we seek to glorify you. Help us to grow in new directions as we learn to see mission and outreach possibilities in each other. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 20; 147:12-20
First Reading Joshua 3:14-4:7
Second Reading Ephesians 5:1-20
Gospel Reading John 9:1-12, 35-38
Evening Psalms 93; 97