Growth and Decline: A Numerical Snapshot

Numbers can obscure as much as they reveal, especially when it comes to measuring congregational growth, so I generally encourage congregational leaders to focus on the tangible things their congregations can do to serve people’s needs and let the numbers take care of themselves.  Nevertheless, measurement is important to get a sense of how we’re doing.  Using data from the annual certification process for congregations, which is one of our most reliable sources of information, staff at the Unitarian Universalist Association study the statistics looking for indicators of recent developments and longer-term trends. (more…)

Taking Your Questions…

“We are in the process of determining some goals for us as we grow. Can you share with me what the UUA, on average, expects or sees with new members as a percentage of visitors? I found some data from 2009 that suggests 12-20% of registered visitors go on to become new members. Would you say that percentage goal is accurate today? What do evangelicals aim for?”

Stefan Jonasson responds… (more…)

Harvesting Ideas: religious investing

Every week we will offer up a question to our reader.  We hope you will not receive these inquiries rhetorically, but rather jump into lively exchange.

If you were a Unitarian Universalist religious venture capitalist, how would you invest your resources for greatest return?

Let the sparky conversation begin… Please share your thoughts in the Leave a Reply below.

Growing Beyond Numbers

I like frameworks to help me hang ideas on and organize my thinking. For years I’ve used the growth categories from Ted Buckle and popularized by Loren Mead in his book More Than Numbers: the Way Churches Grow (the words are changed a bit.)  At the suggestion of Jan Gartner (Professional Development Associate for Religious Education and Music Leaders), I’ve added Associational Growth. We will use these categories to organize this blog.  Each blog entry will speak to at least one kind of growth.  Rather than definitions, I’ll introduce the categories with some questions.  I invite you suggest some of your own questions for these categories in the comment section.  What else would you add?

Organizational Maturity

  • What is your congregation’s purpose for existence? How do you know? How is your purpose expressed?
  • How does your governance and organizational structures fit your size and serve your purpose? How do you understand governance and organization to be different?
  • How are your policies community-owned and responsive to your purpose and the people you want to be?
  • How does your building or meeting space serve your mission (rather than be your mission)?
  • What is your pathway to leadership and service? How is this communicated?