The Faith Communities Today Survey 2010 has some interesting data about the change in American faith communities and the church. You can find the survey here. (And thanks to TSK for the lead.)
I haven't read, yet, how 'spiritual vitality' is determined - but it's interesting that a higher percentage of congregations in the extreme positions have a higher vitality. This graph does not say that 'very liberals' are more 'spiritual' than others - just that a 49.8% of those who are defined by the survey as liberal have 'spiritual vitality'. Bottom line - most churches have low vitality, but those who think more about their theology have a higher percentage vitality.
There is a similar graph in the survey showing spiritual vitality rather than attendance growth, which showed that innovation was key. Here contemporary is key. In both, innovative and contemporary is the ideal.
I am interested in the different dynamics around ethnicity and church that we see in America compared to here in South Africa. In America the white population is dropping and increasingly ethnic groups are forming their own congregations rather than attending 'white' services. Many churches encourage this and I know of at least one seminary that is actively producing study material in Spanish to cater for the training of Hispanic pastors. In South Africa, in the Methodist Church, white congregations are generally trying to become multiracial - the desire is to include wherever possible. I think that we could learn a lot from the American dynamics if we were to analyse the similarities and the differences.
In 2015, I am a newly ordained Methodist minister working, mostly, at Parow Methodist Church in Cape Town, but also in other churches of the Tygerberg Circuit. Previously I have been at:
2009 - Shaw Memorial Methodist Church in Grahamstown
2010-2011 Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary
2012-2013 - Mitchells Plain Methodist Churches