Church vitality is sometimes simply measured in terms of growth in church attendance. Various scholars have also conceptualised health or vitality in more complex, multi-dimensional terms. However, stringent testing of the structure of such models has been limited. This study investigates vitality outcomes, using data from some 391,000 church attenders in nearly 4,700 Protestant congregations in four countries (Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA) from the 2001 International Church Life Survey. An empirical analysis was conducted using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across a wide range of items to determine if there was a common underlying structure in the reported experiences of church attenders. Results provide a strong empirical basis for two latent factors labelled ‘Collective Confidence’, indicating satisfaction with the church and its leadership, and ‘Individual Commitment’, indicating personal commitment to the faith. These factors are then compared to common themes within multi-dimensional frameworks of congregational vitality. These two emergent concepts are further refined with perspectives from both church vitality literature and from wider organisational studies.
|Title of host publication||Research in the social scientific study of religion|
|Editors||Andrew Village, Ralph W. Hood|
|Place of Publication||Leiden, The Netherlands|
|Number of pages||27|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Oct 2018|