Church Clarity (CC) is a crowd-sourced database of local congregations that we score based on how clearly they communicate their actively enforced policies.
Church Clarity exists to solve the problem of ambiguously communicated policies among Protestant churches, who often lack centralized decision-making bodies that dictate policy for all churches at all times (in contrast, see Roman Catholic church). This is a problem particularly salient among churches who try to present a ‘progressive’ brand and theology, but who enforce policies inconsistent with that brand.
The idea for Church Clarity began when George Mekhail, one of CC’s co-founders, was serving as Executive Pastor of Eastlake Church, a megachurch near Seattle. In 2015, Eastlake announced that it now would officiate same-sex weddings. Mekhail noticed how many pastors called Eastlake to communicate their private support, but still took no action to change their church’s policies. Mekhail began to notice how pastors would publicly preach inclusive sermons but maintain exclusionary policies in private, and a year later, he conceived the idea of a “scoring methodology” that would score churches for how clearly they communicated their policies, similar to a “credit rating,” or “J.D. Power rating” for churches.
In 2017, Sarah Ngu, one of the co-founders, was reporting a feature story for Sojourners, profiling four queer Christians who were part of non-affirming churches (i.e. churches that restricted their abilities to participate.) When she reached out to the pastors of each church to give them an opportunity to respond to their queer congregants’ statements, she was struck by the silence and evasive answers that pastors gave in response to basic yes-or-no questions on their church policy. Mekhail read the story and reached out to Ngu to share his idea, and together they, along with Tim Schraeder (original third co-founder), developed a scoring methodology and process. To learn more about scoring process, go here.
Church Clarity launched on October 18, 2017 with an initial focus on LGBTQ policy. Crowdsourced Church submissions poured in from the public, and volunteers from all over the world signed-up and received training on how to score these churches using the Church Clarity methodology. Together with consultation of our volunteers, the Church Clarity leadership team -- George and Sarah -- continually refines its scoring methodology and training. In March 2018, Church Clarity launched a new element of scoring which expanded the methodology to include policies that impact Women in Leadership. We have published several stories about how ambiguously communicated policy have harmed people. We have shifted the conversation in the church to include policy and not just theology, and established a new standard expectation for churches and Christian leaders to be clear -- see #ClarityisReasonable.
We are not advocating for changes to policy; we are simply requesting that actively enforced policies be adequately disclosed on church websites. By establishing a new standard of clarity, what we are trying to return power to the people. We want to equip people with critical information that they need in order to decide how to engage with a church or anyone in the church world. We are currently planning on expanding our methodology to cover many other areas of the church industry.
(As of January 2019)
2890 church submissions
1127 churches published
25 active volunteers
Our database includes churches from...
195 denominations and networks
9 countries (we are mostly focused on North America, however, given that is where our volunteer & team expertise is located)
The leadership team consists of George Mekhail and Sarah Ngu, the two current co-founders, who make all major decisions in consultation with our volunteer corps. Learn more about the team and volunteers here.
100 Largest Churches in America: 2017 Church Clarity Report
100 Largest Churches in America: 2018 Church Clarity Report
info (@) churchclarity.com