Sunday, October 30, 2005

Londrina, Brasil religious study

Those of you that know about my trip this summer to Brasil know that my team and I went to a city called Londrina, in the state of Parana. Tonight I somehow I ended up at a site called Brasil 2010.
Project Brazil 2010 is the saturation church planting effort originally associated with the AD2000 Movement. Its goal is to mobilize all the denominations in Brazil to plant churches until there is "a church within easy access of everyone in the nation in this generation".
I stumbled on to this religious presence study in Londrina. Interesting study.

The methodology for the study included:
- dividing up into teams of two people and covering each block and each street of the city to find the churches and sites for religious meetings.
- visiting each Protestant church during its principal weekly meeting and to count to the number of people present.
- verifying, analyzing and double-checking the data with the available demographic and population data in the mayor's office.
- dividing the city into 17 geographic regions and comparing the evangelical presence between the regions to determine which parts of the city had greater or less access to a church.

The summary of the results include:
Population of Londrina: 424,000
Number of Protestant Churches: 353 (of 388 churches found, 35 or 9% of them were closed)
Average of Attendance: 82 people per church
Percentage of the Population in a church on Sunday: 6.8%
Average number of inhabitants per church: 1,201 (one geographic region represented 6,200 inhabitants per church)
Churches with 100 or fewer people at their services: 80%
Churches with more than 250 people at their services: 5%

The study makes me think about the following:
- About 10% of church buildings are closed. What does that infer about the culture?
- Majority of churches are small. Not only in Londrina, but worldwide, right?
- The study focuses on pure quantities, not at all on the quality of faith communities. We don't know anything about the quality of these churches, and of course, this would be a very subjective opinion.
- Less than 7% of the city go to church. From what we saw there, not too surprising.
- That is some serious leg work to get the results of the survey, literally.

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