Scott Thumma

Professor of Sociology of Religion
Director, D.Min. Program
Director, Hartford Institute for Religion Research
Core Faculty - Graduate Programs


  • Ph.D. (Emory University)
  • M.Div. (Candler School of Theology)
  • B.A. (Southwestern University)

Areas of Study

  • Megachurch characteristics and dynamics
  • The increase in nondenominational churches
  • The impact of the Internet on congregational dynamics
  • Congregational studies of healthy growth and member engagement
  • Congregational/Denominational trends of Religion in America


Scott Thumma’s most recent book, The Other 80 Percent: Turning Your Church’s Spectators into Active Participants (Jossey-Bass 2011, coauthored with Warren Bird), is a practical research-based work that argues for seeing the marginally involved members of a church as a mission field. His earlier book Beyond Megachurch Myth (Jossey-Bass 2008), coauthored with Dave Travis, documents his 20 years of studying the megachurch phenomenon. He has researched and written on evangelicalism, the rise of nondenominational churches, the impact of the Internet on church dynamics, and homosexuality and religious life.

Scott is the director of the Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program, the distance education program  and Hartford Institute’s church survey service.  He co-directs the Insights into Religion Portal ( for the Lilly Endowment, and consults with churches and religious organizations on congregational revitalization, planning and new technologies.  He is responsible for many religion research websites including the Hartford Institute site, Robert Bellah’s website, as well as the Faith Communities Today and the Religious Research Association sites. Much of his work can be found at the Hartford Institute website Scott and his family live in Connecticut.


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