Bishop Mike Lowry wrote this in a post a few weeks ago.
It is worth noting that the Vital Congregations research (which I shared in every district in 2010) overwhelmingly notes a connection between church missional health/vitality and having multiple styles of worship.
I interpreted this as a reference to the Tower Watson findings in the Call to Action process. If I’m wrong about that, I’d love to know the research that is being referenced here.
If it is Towers Watson, this is exactly a case of why I expressed so much concern about the way the Towers Watson data was being packaged and sold when the Call to Action Steering Team report first came out.
It is absolutely true that the steering team report claims that vital congregations have a mix of worship styles. It is right there on page 24. Unfortunately, that conclusion misses the nuance of the underlying data that can be found in the Towers Watson appendix to the report.
In that set of slides, we discover that having more than one kind of worship style is not a universal sign of higher vitality. Quite the opposite in fact. Only in churches of average worship attendance of 350 or above is having multiple worship styles more associated with high vitality than low vitality.
In churches smaller than 350 average worship attendance there is no positive connection between high vitality and having multiple worship styles. Indeed, at the smallest churches there is a negative association. Small churches and very small churches with multiple worship styles are much more likely to exhibit low vitality.
This is all clearly shown on page 39 of the Towers Watson appendix.
Since the vast majority of our congregations are under 350 average worship attendance this is a dangerous mistake. Our leaders are pressing on congregations the notion that to be vital they must develop multiple styles of worship. But the data on which this claim is based do not support the policy.
And yet the mistaken conclusion keeps getting repeated as gospel truth. I do not understand why.