CSR has just released our report on the 2007-2008 "CRC 150th Anniversary Survey," titled Spiritual and Social Trends and Patterns in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The report was co-authored with our esteemed "director emeritus" Rodger Rice. We all benefitted from tremendous support and cooperation from dozens of churches and the denominational leadership of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
The report's main sections cover over-time trends from CRC surveys dating back to 1987; measures and explanations of congregational health; factors related to generous, stewardship-oriented giving to the church; and an analysis of respondents' comments.
The following resources are available:
Here's a sample of the report's analysis, from Figure 13 on page 22 of the report. It shows the distribution of congregational health measures for churches with at least 20 respondents, sorted from healthiest to least healthy. Each colored square is a particular respondent's score on a highly reliable scale rating the congregation's health on 24 items representing 11 areas. The chart shows that there is substantial internal variation within churches, no matter how healthy they are--even the church with the healthiest score has some relatively disappointed congregants, and even the least healthy church has some fairly sanguine members.
Image created in Tableau 5.0.
One of our talented employees, Nathan Mosurinjohn, comments on the GIS niche he specializes in at the CSR:
“GIS is short for Geographic Information Systems, which is used to both analyze spatial data and to create maps. The GIS program we use at the CSR is fully customizable, so the possibilities for its use are endless. Some examples of ways this technology can be used include anything from site selection for business branches to hydrological studies to 3D fly-throughs of mountain ranges.
One of the main ways we are using GIS this summer is to coordinate our canvassing efforts for the Kent County Congregations Study. In addition to making an atlas of maps that the canvassers use for navigating, we have used GIS to estimate the time it will take to canvass each area and the amount of milage each area contains. We have also created a randomized set of points throughout the county to measure some of the general social and physical characteristics of the areas we are canvassing.
Once a team returns from a canvassing trip with their collected data, we use GIS to analyze what we have learned. With this technology we can chart where congregations are moving, where new congregations are forming, and where they are shutting down. We can also begin to see what the location of congregations means; for example, demographic changes in the city may be reflected in church movement and attendance. Movement of congregations can also affect how well services for young people are distributed among at-risk youth, a topic that our corresponding Youth Services Landscape Survey explores in more depth.
These are just a few of the ways that we are using GIS to aid in the implementation of our research endeavors, but as you can see, it is also a very transferable tool that can be used for a variety of purposes.”
KCCS is on Calvin’s home page today, thanks to Allison Graff—have a look.
We are releasing today our new report Cultivating STEM: Why West Michigan college students select majors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The Van Andel Education Institute sponsored our fall 2008 survey of West Michigan college juniors at four local schools. 888 students participated. Key findings in the report include: