Creating a culture of growth
Ways of Growing
Last week we looked at Maturational and Organic Growth, two of the four types of growth identified by Loren Mead, expert on congregational growth. The two remaining types are also important. Mead would suggest if we want numeric growth (the 4th type) we must also focus on the other three.
- Incarnational Growth: Growth in Action
According to Mead, incarnational growth defines the relationship of the congregation to the environment. This type of growth shows the embodiment of the congregation’s collective faith, as evident in the faith-driven actions and programs of its members. Congregations that say they want to grow, and yet intentionally try to avoid supporting the necessary staffing, will soon find themselves overwhelmed and reaching a plateau in growth. A congregation that values social action, but yet fails to develop clear policies on the scope and limit of actions is failing to lay the groundwork for incarnational growth. Growth in awareness and respect for the many paths for action signals the presence of incarnational growth as a hallmark of the community.
- Numerical Growth: Growth in Member Numbers
We often talk about membership numbers, but healthy congregations pay attention to other numbers too, as they can be important indicators. Consider counting: · Members. · Religious education enrollment. · Pledging households. · Sunday service attendance, including adults and children. It is important to track numbers, so we can know the impact of our actions and decisions in the other four areas. Counting doesn’t make us grow, but it is one way to understand if we are growing.