|RE: Stated clerk releases PC(USA) 2011 statistics|
|Written by P.W. Gregory|
|Sunday, 24 June 2012 11:41|
One thing unique to our presbyterian DNA is our tendency and dependence at times on metrics, measurements, assessing things. Part of the old "good order" ways of things. Though much like the term "presbyterian" as a brand, or noun or verb, has lost its meaning, and in many ways is irrelevant and serves no purpose in capturing any meaning, so I think our breathless yearly reporting of numbers or statistics serves no benefit to the organization. The numbers tell us nothing or inform us of nothing that it is not already clear enough to people that have eyes.
If one goes the old measuring stick that you will see 70% of your people on the roles in church any given week, and maybe 20-30% "active" in the church, the real effective "PCUSA" people engaged in the life of the church is about 1.3 million with about 500K or so, really in tune or care about what happens at session/presbytery/GA with less and less engaged the further you go from their pews. The real GA "junkies" i call them, partisans, activists in the church national is probably less than 5K nationally. And they get all the press and ink. The real metric they should measure is average worship attendance any Sunday, or per capita assessment per member, which I think gives a better picture of the state on the church.
As the PCUSA moves on the path of realignment/federation/union with its sister progressive/liberals denominations in the next decade the real numbers are what the UCC/CC (DC) and maybe RCA brings to the table. On that level if you go off their 2010 reported numbers and combine them with the current PCUSA you add to about 3.3-3.5 million in the progressive "union". A bit larger than what the PCUS/UPC had prior to reunion in '82. On the more conservative side PCA/EPC/OPC/etc/etc probably all adds up to about 1.7 million, we will see where the ECO numbers will settle over time. Again, organized religion can be a numbers game, for every 1 PCUSAer there is 60 Catholics, 18 Mormons, 6 Methodists, about 40 Baptists of various stripes, and about 8 Pentecostals. Just going by numbers alone, who do think the Good Lord seems to show favor? But thank God we do not equate raw numbers with grace, blessing, faith, presence of the Lord. Such an view is unbiblical to say the least. The "faithful" in the Bible was many times very, very few, maybe even 1 in a KIngdom.
But the numbers should not be dismissed out of hand. They do serve to show our warmed over, progressive, relativistic, confused and conflicted mush we continue to dish out to the culture it not selling in the public arena of opinion and ideas. Sooner or later you will get down to 1, and that is indeed a lonely number.