David Briggs writes in the Association of Religious Data Archives (ARDA) that times have been tough for the religious affiliated, but that there are five hopeful signs for U.S. congregations. He lists detailed descriptions for all of the five, but I've included only one:
More caring ministries
Climbing the academic ladder
Keeping up with the technological times
More diverse leadership: You just have to look around in many churches to notice a gender imbalance. Still, survey researchers say the consistent finding that six in 10 worshipers are women remains one of their most asked-about results. What is growing, however, is the diversity of leadership in mainline Protestant churches, where 28 percent of pastors are women, up from 20 percent in 2001. New research using survey data also finds female pastors are in general more satisfied in their ministry than male pastors and are strong in welcoming new people. Almost two in five pastors of growing churches are women.
Happy people in the pews