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2007 State of the Church: Reports and Research

Conversations Across the Church

The State of the Church Report provides a detailed look at The United Methodist Church today. It encompasses the issues and concerns on the minds of the church's members and their hopes for the denomination in the future.

The report is sponsored by the United Methodist Connectional Table as a way to:

  • Encourage conversation and visioning across the church.
  • Identify signs of strength and weakness in the life and ministries of the church.
  • Recognize the church's heritage and work.

The Martec Group was commissioned by the Connectional Table to conduct the research. Dr. Meera Buck of Houston, Texas, was the principal researcher, overseeing the design, execution, analysis and reporting of the research.

The research aimed to capture the thoughts, values and judgments of a cross-section of people who participate in The United Methodist Church's mission and ministry.

The research findings are summarized below. The research was done in three main phases in 2006:

Phase 1: Secondary Research


Secondary Research Summary
Existing research (from sources such as the Barna Group and the Pew Foundation) was gathered from a variety of sources for background on religion and Christianity in general. Data also was gathered on The United Methodist Church—for example, membership and attendance trends, demographic trends and worship styles. Read research findings

Phase 2: Primary Research

In-depth, individual conversations were held with 300 members, clergy and leaders. Participants were asked to talk about the role of the church in their lives, what they want to see change, and issues of importance.

Conversations, either by phone or in person, were held with people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Germany, the Philippines, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. A number of active members were also recruited to participate in an online bulletin board discussion. Read research findings

Phase 3: Quantitative Research


Survey of the Attitudes and Opinions of United Methodist Laity and Clergy
Surveys the attitudes and opinions of United Methodists from the U.S., Africa, Europe and the Philippines about the role of the church in their lives.

Approximately 2,600 interviews were conducted that included 980 telephone interviews and 1,500 online interviews with U.S. clergy and laity; 50 phone interviews in Africa; 50 phone interviews in Europe; and 35 phone interviews in the Philippines.

The survey, based on findings in the first two phases, focused on beliefs, values, issues of importance for the church, administrative issues, topical issues and thoughts about the church's future. Read research findings

Online Survey Questions

Guide to Reading the Research Numbers

If you have questions regarding any of the research findings, please contact us at