2023 FACT Data Provides Post-Isolation Insights

Here is a summary of and commentary on the UU congregational results of the Faith Communitities Today (FACT) 2023 survey that was conducted this past February-April. FACT will be publishing overall results that include mulitple faiths and denominations later this summer.

The surveys were sent to the minister, the board president and the administrator (as available), who were asked to combine their answers into one response for the whole congregation. The results include 537 of our 1004 member congregations.

We hope the data will help your congregational leaders to understand and reflect on how their perceptions and experiences compare to the larger trends in the Association.


Key Takeaways

  • Congregations offering online engagement have increased overall attendance for Sunday Worship.
  • 97% of congregations reported good/very good match with their minister.
  • 14% participation of children and youth seems to be higher than perceived numbers. Tracking non-Sunday-morning participation is going to be more important than ever.
  • The number of non-white members has increased, though we still lag behind other "mainline" denominations.
  • Support for new members from historically marginalized communities makes a difference.
  • Tending to relationships and spiritual nourishment is what got us through the pandemic, more so that programming, and it takes a lot less staff/leadership capacity.
  • Hospitality needs to be a key ministry of the congregation as part of building relationship.
  • Excitement about music in worship was high, perhaps because of the new options of virtual guest musicians.
  • More congregations are struggling with finances. Those with endowments have more of a cushion.
  • Older adults and seniors seem to be participating in online program in higher numbers. Children and youth are "Zoomed out" and aren't as attracted to online programming.
  • 3/4 of our congregation seem to have a strong sense of mission and are optimistic about the future.

 Growth, Engagement and Support Resources

Questions for Discussion

  • What data or trends surprised from you this video?
  • What data or trends resonate with your own perceptions/experiences?
  • Where are you seeing growth or deepening in your congregation? How can you continue to build on that?
  • Where are you seeing stagnation or decline in your congregation? Where might you seek support/training/consulting?
  • What are some of the stories or narratives that inform the ways your congregation engages in hospitality and welcoming of new members? How are some of these stories and narratives holding you back and/or lifting you up? How can you disrupt the narratives that are holding you back?

About the Authors

Sarah Lammert

Rev. Sarah Lammert has served congregations in California, Utah, and New Jersey and currently serves at the Unitarian Universalist Association as the Federal Chaplaincies Endorser.

Congregational Life

The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise.

For more information contact .