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Faith Communities Today Survey (FACT) 2015, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod




The Faith Communities Today (FACT) surveys are a series of national surveys of U.S. congregations run by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership. The first FACT survey was launched back in 2000 with the largest national survey of congregations ever conducted in the United States. Coordinated by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at the Hartford Seminary, these surveys aim to not only compare and contrast congregational life across religious traditions but also provide insight into the changing nature of congregational life in the United States.

The 2015 FACT survey is a smaller version of the large national surveys completed at the beginning of each decade. Only surveying 4,436 congregations, this sample focused on completing a random oversample from 11 faith groups, in addition to a random national survey of non-partner congregations. Questions on the survey ranged from programs, demographics of the congregation, mission and identity, and projection of the future for the congregation. The FACT 2015 survey also only surveyed the male clergy. An additional question about the role of the respondent was also added at the end of the survey. This dataset contains data from the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Data File

Cases: 276
Variables: 198
Weight Variable: None

The survey sample is double weighted. First, the various sub-surveys are combined in a way that, through the use of statistical weights, each partner denomination and faith group and each non-partner cluster of congregations is represented in the national FACT 2015 data which is proportional to its representation in the total population of congregations in the United States. Secondly, the dataset is weighted to represent denominational family according to census region parameters based on the National Congregations Study (NCS) and the 2010 U.S. Religious Census.

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

2015 FACT - National Survey of Congregations

Funded By

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary

Collection Procedures

The Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership created common core questions totaling between 150 to 200 questions. These questions were drawn from previous surveys and select themed modules. The final questionnaire was mailed out to randomly selected congregations. Leaders of the congregations were asked to fill out the survey, with the option to use the online platform or the mail-in form.

The Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership also contracted a denominational agency to survey a sample of non-partner denomination congregations. Selections were based on a random sample from a database of congregations maintained by FaithStreet.

For more information, please view the following:

Sampling Procedures

The Faith Communities Today 2015 mailed a physical copy to 4,436 randomly selected American congregations from 11 faith groups. Survey was encouraged to be completed by the leader, staff member or an informed lay leader.

The project's common core questionnaire includes nearly 50 questions covering ten broad areas:

* Worship
* Programs
* Mission and Identity
* Participants
* Leadership
* Member Issues
* Vitality and Change
* Electronic Technology
* Finances
* History, Location, Building and Affiliation

Principal Investigators

Research surveys and reports are conducted by the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, a multi-faith group of religious researchers and faith leaders. This group includes over 25 different faith groups, working together with Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary. Reported findings for the 2015 FACT survey is written by David A. Roozen.

Related Publications

Full report:

Related posts:
Becoming a Virtual Faith Community: Applying Past Data to New Ideas

Ways Congregations Can Improve Their Virtual Presence to Members During This Time of Crisis

The Challenging Climate for US Congregations

An Ever-Changing Landscape: Challenges & Responses of American Faith Communities

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