November 18, 2016
A five-year study has revealed that churches that adhere to more conservative theology tend to have better growth rates.
ChristianToday.com reports that the study, called "Theology Matters: Comparing the Traits of Growing and Declining Mainline Protestant Church Attendees and Clergy" was conducted by Canadian researchers who interviewed 2,225 churchgoers and 29 clergy members in the province of Ontario.
The study’s lead researcher, David Haskell, noted that the study showed that growing churches, "held more firmly to the traditional beliefs of Christianity and were more diligent in things like prayer and Bible reading.”
Haskell further noted that the confidence that comes from having a united core set of beliefs can be attractive to outsiders.
Having core doctrines that they view as unchangeable truth “makes them more confident and, to those on the outside looking in, confidence is persuasive all on its own. Confidence mixed with a message that's uplifting, reassuring or basically positive is an attractive combination."
The study also found a correlation between clergy who read the Bible daily and viewed evangelism as important and the growth of a church.
For example, 71 percent of clergy in growing churches read the Bible daily, while only 19 percent of clergy in declining churches did so.
Additionally, 100 percent of clergy in growing churches said it was "very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians,” compared to only 50 percent of clergy in declining churches who said the same.