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Measuring Emerging Church as a Trend

12 May, 2006 2:27 PM

Yesterday Google announced a new tool - Google Trends which is great for tracking how many people are searching Google for different keywords.

The term 'Emerging Church didn't really appear on Google's tracking until about three quarters through 2005. Following is a graph that shows it.

I'm unsure why there is such a leap at the start - I suspect that they just were not tracking it (other terms were tracked since the start of 2004).

So over the last 6 or so months the graph is pretty steady.


As an update to give some perspective of the numbers of people searching (Google trends just graphs it without measuring) I thought I'd compare 'emerging church' (blue) with 'Hillsong' (a large contemporary worship church here in Australia). The results are... interesting.... to say the least:


Also interesting with Google trends is that they plot where in the world people are searching for these terms from.

With Emerging church the biggest regions where people are searching for the term are (in order):

1. United States
2. Australia
3. Canada
4. United Kingdom

(no other countries registered high enough volumes of traffic to register)

With Hillsong the biggest regions of the world where people are searching for the term are:

1. Philippines
2. Australia
3. Singapore
4. South Africa
5. Indonesia
6. Malaysia
7. New Zealand
8. Brazil
9. Chile
10. Colombia



I think the jump is explained by Google not adding all search results to their database. At some critial point they start getting tracked, and show as a big jump - I have seen this with other searches in Google Trends.

Jeff » 16 May, 2006 4:33 PM

The term 'emerging church' is only one amongst many too; perhaps this recent jump is explained by the term gaining currency?

I'm thinking that parts of the emerging church have been known as 'post-evangelical', for example and long running movements and interests such as celtic christianity have begun being broadly identified with the emerging church. We could also include recent interest in the radical discipleship movement and the home church movement in Australia. (All based on my personal observations only!)

Hillsong in Australia has become more famous in recent years due to the appearance of politicians at Hillsong events and the popularity of their music (and of an Australian Idol winner who came from Hillsong networks). That would probably explain a lot of the gap in the Google trends.

If we include all the possible labels of emerging church and then compare to pentecostal, then we may see very different results.

mintleaf » 15 January, 2007 9:13 PM

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