County-by-County Study of the Vineyard

On May 1, 2012 the Association of Religion Data Archives (ASARB) released a county-by-county study on religious bodies based upon the 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study. The results of this study are quite interesting as it looks at the change in adherents, location, and population penetration of different religious groups. Below are the graphs concerning the Vineyard Movement along with a few comments of mine (you know I have to say something!).

First up is a map showing the location of all the Vineyard churches in the USA in 2010. As to be expected, there are a lot of churches in South California (where the movement started) and in the Mid-West (Ohio is home to two of the biggest Vineyard church in the world, Columbus and Cincinnati). The biggest surprise to me was the cluster of Vineyards in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa and Minnesota as I did not expect there to be that main churches in those areas.

Now, add population penetration by country of the different Vineyard churches to the picture and you get some additional information. For example, not only does Minnesota have a descent number of Vineyard churches, they also have 1% to 4.99% of folks in several different counties. The same is true for the Ohio, Colorado and parts of Montana. South California, while having a lot of churches, has TONS of people and therefore the population penetration is lower.

If you look closely at Idaho, you will noticed that Ada County (where the Boise and Meridian Vineyards are) as a .5% to .99% population penetration while Canyon and Gem County (Nampa Vineyard and PRV respectfully) have a .1% to .46% population penetration.

This next graphs is focused on the number of adherents attending Vineyard churches. What is interesting to me is that most of the counties that have over 277 folks attending only have one or two Vineyard churches in that county (see above graph). This means that the Vineyard has a lot of churches over the 300 people mark….

The last graph tells an interesting story as it highlights the shift in adherents from 2000 to 2010. During those ten years, the Vineyard entered 111 counties while dropping out of 99 counties…. If I had to guess (which I do as I’m not in the power circles), I would say that lot of those counties that lost Vineyards were due to the churches in those counties leaving the Vineyard rather than them shutting down. I say this because in 2006 the National Board made the decision to allow women to lead at all levels within the Vineyard (a decision I agree with BTW). This upset a bunch of churches who did not think that women should be pastors or national leaders, hence they left….

On the bright side, though, the Vineyard Movement did enter 12 new counties including Gem County in Idaho (that’s PRV!!)  😀  The graph also shows that major gains (50% or more) in lot of counties across the nation, so I would say that we ended the decade doing fairly well.

What things do you see in these graphs? Leave your thoughts in the comment field below.

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