American Beliefs Study Press Kit
A leader in church management software, market expertise, and data analysis for the last 45 years, ACS Technologies examined the theological beliefs of Americans with their ground-breaking American Beliefs Study: Religious Preferences and Practices, originally conducted in 2013 and then repeated in 2017 and 2021. Valuable insights that reveal changing behaviors and social and moral attitudes and trends within communities of faith have been distilled into a series of nine unique reports, continually being prepared and made available at americanbeliefs.com/download-reports.
- Americans who continue to profess Christianity clearly favor a less-structured experience. This is evident in how they increasingly affiliate with nondenominational and independent churches over mainline and minor denominations. Mainline and minor Christian denominations saw a 3.2 percent decline in preference for their tradition over the past ten years, while independent and nondenominational churches have seen a 3.2 percent increase. Currently, 21 percent of Christians affiliate with a non-denominational church, compared to 18 percent ten years ago.
- Practicing Christians set a high value on traditional worship. This came out third on their list at 81 percent, while “contemporary worship experiences” was 15th on their list at 52 percent. Protestants place a slightly higher value on traditional worship compared to Catholics. However, there is an apparent strong connection between “traditional worship” and the fourth item on the list “celebrating the sacraments,” especially among Catholics and practicing Christians in the Boomer and Silent generations.
- Americans are more likely now to distance themselves from corporate worship by saying that ‘believing in Jesus does not require participating in a church’ (63 percent now vs. 50 percent in 2017) and that ‘people in the church don’t behave as Jesus would have,’ (61 percent now vs. 32 percent in 2017).
- The top reasons for staying away were ‘Religious people are too judgmental,’ ‘Religion is too focused on money,’ that they ‘Don’t trust organized religion’ or they didn’t ‘trust religious leaders.’
Meet the Spokesperson
Rev. Chuck Salter
Rev. Chuck Salter is Vice President of Ministry Advancement for ACS Technologies and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. Rev. Salter is also a co-founder of MissionInsite, a web-based software solution providing community demographics and data analytics to nearly 200 faith-based agencies representing over 100,000 local churches. MissionInsite became part of ACS Technologies in October 2019.
Chuck is a clergy member of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. As an ordained United Methodist minister, he has over 30 years of experience in the strategic use of community demographic information. He has served as a church planter and denominational executive responsible for leading missional development and ministry advancement.
Fun fact – Chuck is also a “Corvette Guy”! He has photos of his family AND his car!
Sample Interview Questions
- ACS Technologies has created a series of reports based on a study conducted on the religious beliefs and practices of Americans. Can you offer an overview of the American Beliefs Study and how it was conducted?
- What were some of the most surprising trends ACS Technologies found from analyzing the data?
- What different denominations and types of ministry leaders are you serving with this series of reports?
- Why is it so crucial that church leaders pay attention to the findings in these reports, and how is the team of consultants at ACS uniquely poised to assist?
- As ACS Technologies is preparing additional reports, can you offer a sneak peek on what’s next?
- Where can people go to access all of the American Beliefs Reports?