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Literature on Church Growth

Hover over a book to see the title,
and click on it to view the
literature index

 

How to Use

To navigate around the book there are a number of ways to travel. You can link to a page from the main index simply by clicking on a link.

To turn to the next page in the book, you can click the right or left edge of the page. You can also use the controls on the bookmarks, or my favourite is to grab a page corner with the mouse and turning.

You can quickly link back to the index from the link in the book listing. When linking back to the index the book only turns a single page to speed the return.

You can save or share the exact book page by simply copying the unique URL from your browser address bar.

Hope you enjoy reading the reviews!

A Churchless Faith

  • Author: Jamieson, A.
  • Date of Publication: 2002
  • Origin: New Zealand

This text deals with the process of church leavers with its main focus on churches of a Pentecostal denomination in New Zealand. 108 church leavers were interviewed who had continued to practise their faith without attending church and 54 church leaders were also interviewed as part of the study. This study suggests a number of reasons why people leave church, which the study claims church leaders are either unaware of or have misunderstood.

Fragmented Faith?

  • Author: Francis L.J. and Robbins M.
  • Date of Publication: 2005
  • Origin: UK

Anaylsing the Church Times Survey of 2011, "Fragmented Faith?" draws attention to three fault-lines within the Church of England: the continuing differences between evangelicals and Catholics, liberals and conservatives and charismatics and non-charismatics. But the fragmentation is more profound than these distinctions of church orientation. The analysis suggests that the real divisions are between the generations, between the sexes and between the laity and the clergy.

Sowing, Reaping, Keeping

  • Author: Singlehurst, L.
  • Date of Publication: 2006
  • Origin: UK

This text focuses on doing evangelism better. Singlehurst attempts to outline the process of evangelism – that it is not limited to one-off activities - and the kinds of things the church should be prepared to do in order to make their evangelism effective i.e grow the church.

Throughout the book Singlehurst employs the “Engel scale” to explain the journey from total scepticism (0) up to embracing Jesus (10). Steps 1-7 are named the “sowing” activities: indicating how much effort evangelism should look to put in to raising positive perceptions in a community before even reaching the “reaping” stages (8-10).

Gone for Good?

  • Author: Francis, L.J. and Richer, P.
  • Date of Publication: 2007
  • Origin: UK

Following on from their earlier research in Gone but not Forgotten and using a combination of statistical research and first-hand personal accounts, Leslie J. Francis and Philip Richter try to make sense of church-leaving. In this analysis they conclude that some church-leavers are likely to return, if their reasons for leaving are properly understood. 15 typical sets of reasons for church-leaving are identified and each section ends with a set of practical recommendations.

This book proposes a new model for the contemporary church - the 'multiplex church'. The authors suggest that churches need to be flexible enough to respond to individual differences if they are to prevent and reverse church leaving.

Quitting Church

  • Author: Duin, J.
  • Date of Publication: 2008
  • Origin: US

Duin, a religion journalist in the U.S based this text on her experiences of those who have left church, either her friends and acquaintances or people she has come into contact with through investigating church leavers.

Duin's description of churches fostering relevance through numerous methods, including community-sensitive outreach work; and her description of the Barna Group’s research into house church growth, and factors affecting that, can be noted.
 
This  work illustrates a number of reasons for leaving the church, with the specific segmentations employed (singles aged < 35, or the denominations) are specific to the U.S context.

Church Growth Dissertation

  • Author: Pereira, M
  • Date of Publication: 2004
  • Origin: UK

This is a qualitative study of 20 churches from across the UK which grew from 1995 - 2004. It involved interviews with the minister and members of the congregation of each in order to define growth factors.

The factors which the study suggests are important for church growth are:

  • Leadership - leaders have vision & leadership skills.
  • Contemporary worship - but without losing elements of tradition.
  • Leadership teams.
  • Relationships / care - good pastoral networks, training lay welcome teams.
  • Youth ministry
  • Outreach / community - e.g.. evangelistic courses alongside initiatives to build relations.
  • Prayer - facilitating personal encounter with God for every member
  • Biblical preaching - that is relevant, applied and non-intellectual
  • Staff / resources
  • Laity mobilised.

Mathematical modeling of church growth

  • Author: Hayward, J.
  • Date of Publication: 1999
  • Origin: UK

This paper was published in The Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 23(4), pp.255-292.

The possibility of using mathematics to model church growth is investigated using ideas from population modeling. It is proposed that a major mechanism of growth is through contact between religious enthusiasts and unbelievers, where the enthusiasts are only enthusiastic for a limited period. After that period they remain church members but less effective in recruitment. This leads to the general epidemic model which is applied to a variety of church growth situations. Results show that even a simple model like this can help understand the way in which churches grow, particularly in times of religious revival.

 

A General Model of Church Growth and Decline

  • Author: Hayward, J.
  • Date of Publication: 2005
  • Origin: UK

This paper was published in the Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 29(3), pp. 177-207.

An earlier model of church growth (Hayward, 199925. Hayward , J. ( 1999 ) is extended to include long-term effects due to births, deaths and reversion from the church. It is proposed that only a subset of the church, the enthusiasts, is involved in the recruitment process, and only for a limited period of time after their conversion. It is found that the church reaches equilibrium in its proportion of society according to the potential of these enthusiasts to reproduce themselves, and the losses from the church. If this reproduction potential is below a threshold that depends on losses, then extinction occurs. If it is above a higher threshold, then the church sees rapid revival growth. The model is applied to a number of church denominations to examine their prospects for survival or revial growth. Generally, declining churches do so because their reproduction potential is inadequate, rather than due to excessive losses.

 

A Dynamical Model of Church Growth and its Application to Contemporary Revivals

  • Author: Hayward, J.
  • Date of Publication: 2002
  • Origin: UK

This paper was published in the Review of Religious Research, 43(3), pp.218-241

A copy of this paper can be accessed on this site.