For many years the Institute has been known for its study of the growth and decline of Mainline denominations. In recent years the Institute staff have broadened their interests and now study all sorts of denominations and other official national religious bodies. The reports and research offered here relate specifically to the official national structures. This section also contains information on regional denominational religious structures, new religious movements and parachurch religious groups.
The term "denomination" is used here as a generic reference to a defined religious group from any faith tradition which associates, regulates public information, and maintains associative ties between congregations and functions as the religious authority, resource, or central coordinator for a grouping of faith communities. These organizing entities may vary greatly in institutional complexity, size, type of polity and strength of religious authority.