On Wednesday morning, June 19, Dr. L. Roy Taylor, stated clerk of the PCA General Assembly, provided commissioners with a summary of key statistics from 2012. Such data, Taylor said, provides insight into the health and vibrancy of the denomination.
At the close of 2012, Taylor informed the Assembly that the PCA was officially comprised of 1,474 particular churches, 303 mission churches, and 4,321 ministers. He went on to suggest, however, that there may be as many as 100 churches and 200 ministers who have not been reported to his office.
Still, according to the latest reported data:
- There are now 1,777 churches and missions — a net increase of six.
- In 2012, there were 9,145 total professions of faith — a decrease of 922.
- Total membership in the PCA is 364,019 — an increase of 12,613.
- There are 138,010 “family units” in the denomination — an increase of 502.
- Sunday school attendance is 101,809 — a decrease of 817.
- Per capita giving is $2,580 — an increase of $119.
- Per capita benevolences are $440 — an increase of $4.
- Total “congregational disbursements” were reported to be $743,643,457 — an increase of $35,960,789.
For more information about the 41st PCA General Assembly, visit http://byfaithonline.com/
It’s hard to be certain you’re getting a clear picture from these statistics. For example, the numbers suggest a 3.4% membership increase, but only a 1/3 of one percent increase in family units, and flat Sunday School attendance. The question on total membership always boils down to this: Have the congregations cleaned up their membership rolls lately?
I wonder if the PCA has reached its apex, due to its stance on ordination of women. It appears many (most, I’d guess) Presbyterians have become comfortable with the idea of women as elders and ministers, which may be why most congregations leaving the PCUSA go to EPC or ECO (both of which allow ordaining women) rather than PCA.
The PCA may have plateaued, (as Don points out, the figures are confusing at first glance) but I don’t know if that is because of its position against women’s ordination. The PC(USA) has been aggressively egalitarian on women’s leadership for decades and has seen its membership plummet.