Today on the Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators‘ FaceBook page there was a thread that caught my eye about congregational certification. Specifically the Religious Education Enrollment part of certification.
Joy Berry, the Director of Lifespan Religious Education serving the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, NC, ponders, “Anyone else wondering why, if RE for all ages is a best practice, we aren’t asked any question about lifespan RE?”
She goes on, “What might we learn if we gather data on the number of adults enrolled in RE? As a % that can be compared to the membership and to children and youth in RE. For DREs in search who are considering lifespan positions, it might be really useful to know the relative size of that element in the program. And for settled DREs, to be able to quickly compare numbers for adult RE across years (like I just did to see we had a sizable increase in children and youth RE) would be great.”
When we analyze the certficification numbers, (children and youth) RE Enrollment is analogous to adult membership. In this case think of adult membership as “adult enrollment.” Think about it, just because you’re registered in a book doesn’t mean that you actually show up consistently, right? I think those can stand together rather well. The Average Sunday Attendance is the figure that captures everyone actually gathered.
Over 50% of our congregations responded to the Faith Communities Today Survey. In that survey the interfaith consortium ask congregations to break their religious education programs down by percentages: senior adults (65+), adults (50-64), adults (35-49), young adults (18-34), youth (13-17), children and preteen (0-12.)
The following are charts from those figures and are broken down into these sizes of congregations:
Fellowship Congregations (0-60) – 80 in this size responded
Small Pastoral Congregations (61-160) – 159 in this size responded
Midsize Pastoral Congregations (161-300) – 97 in this size responded
Transition Congregations (301-400) – 20 in this size responded
Program Congregations (401-600) – 22 in this size responded
Large Program Congregations (601-800) – 12 in this size responded
Corporate Congregations (800+) – 5 in this size responded
The following pie charts are the averages of the congregation that responded.
Joy wonders, “what might we learn if we gather data on the number of adults enrolled in RE, as a % that can be compared to the membership and to children and youth in RE. For DREs in search who are considering lifespan positions, it might be really useful to know the relative size of that element in the program. And for settled DREs, to be able to quickly compare numbers for adult RE across years (like I just did to see we had a sizable increase in children and youth RE) would be great.” Yes! Measuring such things can help break down assumptions or flag things to pay attention to. Over time you can measure change and then change course accordingly.
Our FACT survey didn’t ask for either a membership/enrollment or Average Sunday Attendance percentage breakdown by age. It would be nice to be able to compare and see which groups may be underserved. It’s also good to keep i mind that these figures come from people in congregations self-reporting. It’s soft-data. But it’s a start.
More figures from both the FACT survey and congregational certification will be coming out in about a month. A team and I are working on publishing a report based on the UUA Board Monitoring Report of our Ends.
Metrics and analysis are a small part of Rev. Tandi Rogers’ portfolio, but it’s one of her favorites. She’s grateful that this year she gets to team up with Michelle Rediker, Carey McDonald, Heather Bond, and Annette Marqui to report out. That’s simply a formula for more fun!