Congregational Vitality Assessment Research Sources

The Congregational Vitality Assessment (CVA) is grounded in congregational vitality research. Every year we review relevant research findings and update the CVA and this list of research sources accordingly.

Primary Sources for Congregational Vitality

Baylor University. (2017). “The Baylor Religion Survey”, Wave V. Waco, TX: Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.

Bobbitt, L. (2014). “Measuring Congregational Vitality: Phase 2 Development of an Outcome Measurement Tool,” Review of Religious Research 56(3), 467-484.

Chaves, M. (2021). “National Congregations Study, Cumulative Dataset” (1998, 2006-2007, 2012, and 2018-2019).

Cincala, P., et al. “Facts on Spiritually Vital Congregations (FACT 2020 National Survey of Congregations)”. Hartford, CT: Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Dollhopf, E. J. (2021). “Overall Congregational Vitality in. the United Church of Christ: Predictors and Implications.” Theology Today, 78(3), 225-235.

Freudenberg, M. (2016). “Liturgical Traditionalism and Spiritual Vitality: Transforming Congregational Practices in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, 6(2).

Howard, K. W. (2017). “The Religion Singularity: A Demographic Crisis Destabilizing and Transforming Institutional Christianity.” International Journal of Religion and Spirituality In Society, 7(2).

Lizardy-Hajbi, K., et al. (2015). “UCC Congregational Vitality and Ministerial Excellence Report”. Cleveland, OH: United Church of Christ.

Rendle, Gil. (2014). “Doing the Math of Mission: Fruits, Faithfulness, and Metrics”. Lanham. MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Shockley, K., et al. (2012). “Toward Vitality Research Project.” Nashville, TN: United Methodist Church.

Stephens, Darryl W. (2020). “Healing Congregations: A Corrective to the Metrics of Congregational Vitality.” Witness: Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education, 34, 1-13.

Thuma, S., et al. (2021). “Faith Communities Today 2020 survey (Twenty Years of Congregational Change)”. Hartford, CT: Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Wollschleger, J. (2018). “Pastoral Leadership and Congregational Vitality.” Review of Religious Research, 60, 575–585.

Secondary Sources for Congregational Vitality

Barna, G. (2021). “State of the Church” 2020. Ventura, CA: Barna Research Group.

Barna, G. (2004). “Profile of American Churches Shows Them to be Conservative, Evangelical, Seeker-Sensitive – and Losing Ground”. Ventura, CA: Barna Research Group.

Barna, G. (2000). “Grow Your Church from the Outside In: Understanding the Unchurched and How to Reach Them.” Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

Barna, G. (1999). “The Habits of Highly Effective Churches: How to Have a Ministry That Transforms Lives.” Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

GBarna, G. (1993). “Turn-Around Churches: How to Overcome Barriers to Growth and Bring New Life to an Established Church.” Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

Bruce, D. A. (2002). “Comparing Personal Religious Practices Across the Generations.” Hartford, CT: Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Bass, D. B. (2006). “Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith.” San Francisco: Harper Collins.

Crow, C. & K. Crow. (2003). “The Church Growth Movement and the American Dream,” in Grow Magazine. Bethany, OK: Church of the Nazarene.

Hadaway, C. K. (2015). “New Facts on Episcopal Church Growth and Decline.” New York: The Episcopal Church.

Hadaway, C. K. (2010). “Facts on Church Growth.” Hartford: Faith Communities Today.

Hadaway, C. K. (2007). “Facts on Episcopal Church Growth.” New York: Episcopal Church Center.

Hadaway, C. K. (2002). “Congregation Size and Church Growth in the Episcopal Church.” New York: Episcopal Church Center.

Hadaway, C. K. (2002). “A Report on Episcopal Churches in the United States.” New York: Episcopal Church Center.

Hadaway, C. K. & P. L. Marler. (2001). “New Church Development: A Research Report.” New York: Episcopal Church Center.

Hahn, C. (1990). “What Makes Churches Grow: The Best of Action Information.” Washington, DC: The Alban Institute.

Hayward, J. (2000). “Mathematical Modeling of Church Growth,” in Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 255-292.

Howard, K. W. (2003). “Mission Canons Evaluation Workgroup Report to Diocesan Council.” Washington, DC: Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Hughes, P. (1998). “Report on Congregational Health and Vitality.” Melbourne, Australia: Anglican Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Irvine, Andrew R. (2003). “Clergy Well-Being: Seeking Wholeness with Integrity,” Research on Issues Affecting Clergy and Congregations.

Lifeway Research (2008). “What Adults Search for When Switching Churches.” Nashville, TN: Lifeway Christian Resources.

McNeil, Reggie. (2009). “Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. “San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

O’Donovan, Dana and Noah R. Flower. (2013). “The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy,” Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Powell, D. D. (2000). “Church Planting Programs of Similar Sized Denominations in the United States (Doctoral Dissertation).” Wilmore, KY: Asbury Theological Seminary.

Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (2019). “The U.S. Congregational Vitality Survey.” Louisville, KY: P.C.U.S.A.

Rendle, Gil. 2010). “Journey Into the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches.” Nashville: Abingdon Press.

Ridley, C. (2000). “13 Qualities of an Effective Church Planter: An Assessment” in Evaluating and Reporting. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University.

Roozen, D. A. (2021). “Faith Communities Today: In Service of a Comparative Practical Ecclesiology.” Theology Today, Vol. 78(3), 198-211.

Roozen, D. A. (2008). “American Churches 2008.” Hartford: Faith Communities Today.

Roozen, D. A. (2004). “Old Line Protestantism: Pockets of Vitality Within a Continuing Stream of Decline.” Hartford, CT: Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Rothledge, A. (1990). “Sizing Up a Congregation for New Member Ministry.” New York: Episcopal Church Center.

Rowley, R. J. (2005). “Successfully Coaching Church Planters (Doctoral Dissertation).” Dallas: Dallas Theological Seminary.

Stetzer, E. J. (2003). “The Impact of the Church Planting Process and Other Selected Factors on the Attendance of Southern Baptist Church Plants.” Louisville, KY: The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Stetzer, E. J. (2003). “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age.” Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Stetzer, E. J. & P. Conner. (2007). “Church Plant Survivability and Health Study.” Alpharetta, GA. Center for Missional Research (North American Mission Board).

Schwarz, C. A. (1996). “Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches.” Carol Stream, IL: Church Smart Resources

Slack, J. (1998). “Strategies for Church Planting.” Missiology. Eds. John Mark Terry, Ebbie Smith and Justin Anderson. Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman.

Thuma, S. (2021) “Guest Editorial.” Theology Today, 78(3) 195-197.

Thuma, S. & D. Travis. (2007). “Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from America’s Largest Churches.” Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.

Thuma, S., et al. (2006). “Megachurches Today 2005.” Hartford, CT: Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Winseman, A. L. (2007). “Growing an Engaged Church (Based on the Gallop 2004 Congregational Engagement Index).” Omaha, NE: Gallup Press.