Church Trends One SITE for Your PCUSA Data


Technical Information


Sources of Data

Unless otherwise noted, membership data presented in this publication are those reported by congregations to the Office of the General Assembly and are from the Session Annual Statistical Report.  Ministerial data are reported by stated clerks of presbyteries.  Data on candidates for ministry are from the Office of Preparation for Minister/Examinations.


Guidelines for Use

All statistics for are based on boundaries in place for the year the data were reported.  Caution should be used in interpreting comparisons between years as boundaries may have changed.

Most percentages have been rounded.  When the observed value is at dead center between two adjacent values it is rounded to the nearest even number.  Thus, 7.5 is raised to 8, 6.5 is lowered to 6.  




Membership Gains and Losses are those reported annually to the Office of the General Assembly by congregations.

Total Gains in membership is the number derived by adding gains through: 

  • Profession of Faith, Reaffirmation, and Restoration (the number of persons received during the year through professions of faith reaffirmation of faith, and restoration to the active members’ roll after removal, deletion, or temporary exclusion)

  • Certificate (persons received into membership upon receipt of a certificate of transfer from another church)

  • Other (all other additions to the active roll, including adjustments)

Total Losses in membership is the number derived by adding membership losses through: 

  • Certificate (members dismissed to other churches for whom certificates of transfer have been issued)

  • Death (members whose names have been deleted from the active roll because of death)

  • Other (all other members whose names have been removed from the active membership roll)

Definitions:  Teaching Elders

  • Pastor/Co-pastors are solo pastors, co-pastors, heads of staff, or designated pastors serving a particular congregation or congregations.

  • Associate Pastors are associate pastors serving a particular congregation or congregations, including designated associate pastors

  • Supply Pastors are stated or temporary supply pastors serving a particular congregation or congregations.

  • Interims are pastors and associate pastors serving as interims in a particular congregation or congregations.

  • Chaplains are chaplains serving in schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, hospitals, and other institutions; in military service; or in Veterans Administration service.

  • PC(USA) Executives are teaching elders serving as an executive, stated clerk, or other staff in mid-councils or General Assembly entities.

  • School Staff or Faculty are teaching elders serving as a president, administrative staff, or faculty member of a college, university, seminary, or other school.

  • Other Professionals are teaching elders serving as a chief administrator or staff in other denominations, ecumenical or non-denominational agencies, or other institutions, or who serve as spiritual directors or pastoral counselors.

  • Other includes teaching elders who are college, university, or seminary students or otherwise without a validated call.

  • Retired includes teaching elders who are honorably retired members of presbytery or who serve as pastor emeritus/emerita of particular congregations.

  • Candidates are individuals seeking to become teaching elders of the Word and Sacrament who have completed the inquirer phase and been examined by their presbytery’s committee on Preparation for Ministry and the presbytery as a whole and enrolled as candidates for ministry.


Definitions:  Finances

Total Receipts is the sum of monies received by all treasurers (including church treasurers and the treasurers of all boards and organizations of the church) between January 1 and December 31, 0012 in the following categories:

  • Contributions from Living Donors – payments on pledges, current as well as delinquent; loose offerings; special offerings.

  • Capital and Building Funds – receipts for capital purposes or building funds.

  • Investment and Endowment Income – interest and dividends from stocks, bonds, other investments, and endowments; proceeds from sale of investments.

  • Bequests – the value of all new gifts from estates

  • Other Income – rent or reimbursement from organizations using church property; tuition/fees for day care; and other income.

Total Receipts exclude monies received from other churches or from a presbytery, synod, or the General Assembly for local program or mission.

Total Expenditures is the sum of expenditures during the year in the following categories:

  • Local Program Expenditures – the total of all monies expended for current operations of the congregation, such as salaries and wages; pension and Social Security payments; printing, postage, and materials; utilities; insurance premiums; and payments of interest or principal on loans – whether secured by a mortgage or not.

  • Capital Expenditures – all monies expended for real property, whether improved or unimproved; construction of new buildings; extraordinary repairs on existing  buildings; and equipment with anticipated useful life in excess of three years.

  • Investment Expenditures – monies newly placed into long- or short-term savings or  investments (certificates of deposit, real property mortgages, stocks and bonds, real property, money market funds, etc.) during the year and remaining invested at the end of the year; brokers’ fees; bank charges; etc.

  • Per Capita Apportionment – the total of monies expended for assessments from presbytery, synod, and General Assembly for their operating expenses.    

  • Validated Mission Expenditures – all monies given to presbytery, synod, and General Assembly agencies for mission projects, including payments toward the mission budgets of these entities, and all proceeds from presbytery or synod special offerings, as well as General Assembly special offerings (i.e. One Great Hour of  Sharing Offering, Christmas Joy Offering, Peacemaking Offering, and Pentecost Offering), and offerings (Disaster Relief, Thank Offering, etc.), payments to the Theological Education Fund, and funds donated to all other PC(USA)-sponsored programs.  (Per capita apportionments are not included).  Also included are monies given for mission programs and projects that are related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but are not described in the categories above (mission approved, but not all: directed, by the governing body with jurisdiction or institutions related to a presbytery, synod, or the General Assembly).

  • Other Mission Expenditures – all monies expended for mission causes not related to the Presbyterian church (U.S.A.) and not included in the categories defined above.  

Changing Definitions

On July 10, 2011, the part of the church’s constitution dealing with governance was replaced with a new document that changed some common church terms.  In particular, “ministers of the Word and Sacrament” are now known as “teaching elders,” and “elders” are now known as “ruling elders.”


Availability of Data

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