Take the Quiz
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
If you randomly select 100 people in the world, about 50 of them would be female. If you randomly select 100 McDonald’s restaurants in the world, about 47 of them would be in Canada or the U.S.¹ We phrase this as “50 percent of the world’s population is female” and “47 percent of McDonald’s restaurants are in Canada and the U.S.” The word percent means “of every hundred.”

Of course, knowing exact percentages is only important for Jeopardy contestants or Trivial Pursuit players. Or statisticians. For the rest of us, “about half” is a good enough ratio to remember. Purists could estimate that only one percent of the world cares much about exact percentages, or we could say “nearly no one” cares.


In this issue, we’ll look at Nazarene ratios of members, churches, and activities. For the purists, we’ll give exact percentages in the answers, but most of us can come close with nearly all (90% or more), most (61 to 89%), about half (40 to 60%), few (11 to 39%), or nearly none (no more than than 10%).



1.      Adherents and attendance
Churches of the Nazarene reported about 2.5 million adherents in 2010.² About how many of these people associated with Churches of the Nazarene attend on a typical Sunday?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
The largest Protestant group in the U.S. is the Southern Baptist Convention. How many of their adherents attend on a typical Sunday morning?³
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

2.      New churches
Traditionally, new churches have accounted for much of the growth in our denominational outreach. We reported over 25,000 active Churches of the Nazarene in 2010. About how many of these Churches of the Nazarene, from all world areas, have been started within the last 10 years?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
How many of the 4,994 active USA/Canada Churches of the Nazarene have been started within the last 10 years?
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

3.      Small churches
As a group, churches that average less than 50 in weekly worship provide more than their share of new Nazarenes each year. What proportion of all Churches of the Nazarene report fewer than 50 worshipers for a typical week?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
In the U.S., Southern Baptists and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have shared their church sizes with the Research Center. What proportion of Presbyterian Church (USA) congregations report fewer than 50 worshipers in a typical week?
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

4.      Large churches
Large churches, those averaging more than 1,000 in worship, have also shown strong growth for the Church of the Nazarene. While such large churches are rare in every denomination, about how many Churches of the Nazarene around the world report an average worship attendance of at least 300?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
In the U.S., Southern Baptists and Presbyterian Church (USA) have shared their church sizes with the Research Center. What proportion of Southern Baptist congregations report more than 300 worshipers in a typical week?
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

5.      Giving (US only)
In the U.S., half of Nazarene worshipers (53%) report being regular tithers. How many, including the tithers, report giving regularly to their local Church of the Nazarene?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
In the larger religious community, how many worshipers in U.S. congregations report that they tithe?
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

6.      Sunday School
Sunday School is the primary discipleship method used by Churches of the Nazarene in Canada and the U.S., with nearly all churches (92%) offering weekly classes. Around the world, Sunday School is not always offered to all age groups. About how many Churches of the Nazarene from all world areas report Sunday School attendance figures?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
In the U.S., what proportion of all religious congregations offer the equivalent of Sunday School to their worshipers?
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

7.      Small groups
Another discipleship method is the creation of small groups. About how many Churches of the Nazarene in Canada and the U.S. reported discipleship groups in 2010?
Nearly all               Most                About half                   Few                  Nearly none

Extra credit:
How many global Churches of the Nazarene reported discipleship groups in 2010?
Nearly all               Most                About half                    Few                  Nearly none

Answers:
1.      Adherents and attendance
About half of the people associated with a local Church of the Nazarene attend on a typical Sunday morning. Globally, the actual percentage is 54% and in the U.S. it is 56%. By comparison, few Southern Baptists attend worship, about 31% in 2010.

2.      New churches
About half the global Churches of the Nazarene (55%) have been started in the past 10 years. In the USA/Canada Region, few of the active churches (14%) are that new.

3.      Small churches
Globally, about half (59%) the Churches of the Nazarene report an average worship of less than 50 each week. In the U.S., the proportion is smaller (42%), but still falls within our “about half” category. This appears to be typical for nearly all Protestant groups. The mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) reports that about half its US churches (40%) average less than 50 in worship.

4.      Large churches
As a proportion of the whole, nearly none of the global Churches of the Nazarene (3%) report a typical worship attendance of at least 300. In the U.S. and Canada, the proportion doubles to 6%, but that still qualifies as nearly none on our scale. Southern Baptists, with many high profile mega-churches, also find that nearly none (9%) of their churches exceed 300 on Sunday morning.

5.      Giving (U.S. only)
Most Nazarene attendees (78%) report giving regularly to their local churches. In the larger religious community, few (18%) report tithing to their local congregation. This may be influenced by the large number of Catholics in the general population who often give to other Catholic charities instead of to a local congregation.

6.      Sunday School
About half of global Churches of the Nazarene (56%) reported Sunday School attendance in 2010. In the U.S., nearly all religious congregations (96%) report having Sunday Schools, Sabbath schools, or the equivalent.

7.      Small Groups
Most Churches of the Nazarene in Canada and the U.S. (64%) reported small groups in 2010. Around the world, few churches (21%) reported this discipleship method.

Endnotes:

1. Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_McDonald%27s_franchises, as of November 2011. No, Wikipedia is not our preferred source for information in the Research Center, but it seemed acceptable as a quick reference for this illustration.
2. To calculate adherents, the Research Center uses the largest reported figure associated with each local church. Typically, this would be the total membership or the responsibility list. However, if average worship attendance or average discipleship attendance is larger, those figures would be used instead.
3. Source: Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States 2000, Jones et al.
4. Source: US Congregational Life Survey (http://www.uscongregations.org/how-do-you-compare.htm).
5. Source: American Congregations 2008 by David A. Roozen, a report from the Faith Communities Today 2008 survey (http://www.faithcommunitiestoday.org/).

–Compiled by Dale Jones, director of Research for the Church of the Nazarene.

Holiness Today
, January/February 2012
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