Data Sources

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Sources

Church Scouts is based in the Twin Cities and focused sharply on Minneapolis, St Paul and its suburbs, a metro area of approximately 3,500,000 people. Primary objective is to gather and analyze all important local information relating to church growth.

In addition, however, there is a vast amount of over-arching national data also relevant to the Twin Cities, so this is also incorporated into the statistics and Briefs on this site.

Church Scouts gathers data from many different sources, including City Vision, Street Interviews, InsightGraphs, published studies, surveys, books, and articles, and conversations with local pastors and church leaders.

City Vision

Dr. Rev. John A. Mayer and his service organization, City Vision, have been collecting data on Twin Cities churches for more than 20 years.

Among Christian research professionals, City Vision is known internationally as having the most complete and comprehensive information on local churches of any city in the world!

City Vision maintains an active database of 3,476 known churches in the Twin Cities.

City Vision publishes a 160-page fact book with tables, charts and graphs with amazing statistical detail on the Twin Cities church scene.

City Vision provides the summary statistics appearing in Church Scouts Briefings with respect to church counts, attendance and denominational affiliation. City Vision data is used in Briefing 5 (Denominations), Briefing 6 (Muslims), Briefing 7 (Attendance) and Briefing 8 (Multisites).

Upon request, City Vision also prepares and updates custom reports as needed by churches, church planters and Christian organizations. It also offers consulting services to help with interpretation and application of the data.

Street Interviews

Street Interviews is the name of a new venture between Church Scouts and Steiger International for tapping into the thinking of Millennials (ages 18-38) and Gen Zs (under 18), together the new majority of the U.S. population and the future of the church.

Steiger is a Christian organization – over 100 young people on staff – with deep roots in the Millennial and Gen Z culture. They are able to get Millennnials to open up in candid dialog in ways that is impossible for most research organizations, pastors and Christian leaders.

The operating entity – Street Interviews – is positioned as a new type of Christian research – at the random, raw, visceral level – as described in The New Piece.

This is the most actionable kind of research because it tells WHY in detail – by words, tone and body language – and gives strong signals regarding HOW to communicate.

The pilot project of 25 interviews on the streets of Minneapolis in 2017 is reported in Briefing 10 (What Millennials Believe).

An additional 75 random interviews – about the Bible and Jesus – are being conducted on Twin Cities streets in Summer 2018. Hundreds more are planned for the future.

Interviews will be available in full on this site in the form of transcripts, audio and video. Also, Briefings here will summarize, analyze and make recommendations based on study of the responses.

Listening to each new batch of street interviews can be of great valuable to pastors and church leaders for keeping current with modern culture ... for programming, evaluation, sermon preparation, teaching, evangelism, counseling and personal effectiveness.

Dashboard

Dashboard is a computerized analytics service offered free by Church Scouts to Twin Cities churches with weekly worship attendance of 200 or more.

Your church's data on attendance, finances and staffing over the past five years is converted to percentages – for better comprehension and for confidentiality – then drawn as 20 charts which can be compared side-by-side with other churches for deep insights, extremely valuable for decision-making.

Pastor and church leaders get views of the church never before seen, derived from complexity greater than the mind can analyze without computer processing, graphics and comparisons.

This free high-quality analytics tool – and how to get it – is explained in the Dashboard section of this site.

The data and charts are completely confidential because everything is reduced to percentages, and churches are identified only by confidential ID number. However, all these percentages in the computer give Church Scouts an enormous amount of data to develop the overall picture of what's changing within Twin Cities churches and degrees of success with various strategies.

Published materials

Church Scouts examines statistics generated by Barna, Gallup, Pew and others at the national level and often includes some their findings in the Statistics and Briefings on this site.

Also, relevant materials from various studies, books and articles found in print or online are incorporated or referenced here.

Book which have considerable input are summarized in the special Books section of this site.

Conversations

Church Scouts have frequent and varied conversations with pastors and board members of Twin Cities churches, and their inputs are incorporated into materials here.

Consolidated data

Everything is happening fast, and sometimes data from a particular source gathered a few years ago needs to be extrapolated to the present time consistent with new data from other sources. Sometimes data from many sources are compiled into a single table or chart. Sometimes a single data point in a series is estimated if the raw number appears to be an obvious error.

If no source citation is given, this usually means that Church Scouts has consolidated information from multiple sources.

Church Scouts uses best judgment in assembling and presenting data. There are not sufficient resources for verifying the data, so reputation, experience and credibility of each source is important criteria.

Statistics reported here should not be regarded as absolute facts but as best estimations of the situation. Data is not used unless it fits the general pattern of information being received from all sources.

Church Scouts does not make editorial comments about the data. The data needs to speak for itself.

However, when ample data is clear and undeniable, Church Scouts speaks of the findings as fact, even though some readers might regard those statements as editorializing if they conflict with personal experiences, perceptions or desires.

Church Scouts makes every effort to be objective and trustworthy. The footings for this ministry are quantified facts, not opinions, wishes or possibilities.

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