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Church Growth Modelling

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Model Construction

Limited Enthusiasm

The model of short-term revival growth, based on the analogy with the spread of a disease.

Demographics

The limited enthusiasm model with births, deaths, reversion & secularisation.

Renewal

Allows for enthusiasts to be made from existing inactive believers.

Spiritual Life

Enthusiasts can build the spiritual life of the church, which in turn improves their effectiveness

Migration

Adding migration investigates revival in growing communities

Membership

Separating attendance from membership to investigate their correlation with growth and decline.

Aging and Church Decline

Aging effects the Demographics model if the church is in steep decline. Thus corrections are needed.

Model Results

Principles of Revival Growth

1904-5 Welsh Revival

Nagaland Revival

Principles of Church Growth

Principles of Church Decline

Church of England 2001-2012
1979-1998

Southern Baptist 1980-2012

Growth Through Renewal

Growth Through Spiritual Life


Simulate Online

Limited Enthusiasm with Demographics

Church of England 1979-1998

UK New Churches 1990-2000

Limited Enthusiasm Models

Enthusiasts are the subset of the church who are active in the conversion of unbelievers. They are "infected" with religion and pass it on to their friends, family and contacts. The result is the religion spreads like a disease, and the church grows. Growth ceases because enthusiasts lose their infectious enthusiasm and are thus unable to convert people fast enough from the shrinking pool of unbelievers. These hypotheses can be expressed in the system dynamics diagram:

limited enthusiasm

There are three categories of people: unbelievers, enthusiasts (or active believers) and inactive believers. These correspond to the susceptible, infected and removed categories in the spread of a disease.

In the basic model new converts are the primary source of enthusiasts because they have the most contacts with unbelievers. Extended models include births as a source of believers (Demographics Model), existing believers as a source of enthusiasts (Renewal Model), and the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion (Spiritual Life Model).

The Models

Limited Enthusiasm - Revival
Understanding the dynamics of revival by analogy with the spread of a disease.
Revival growth threshold - how a small number of enthusiasts can make a big difference.
demographics
Demographics
Long term Limited Enthusiasm model, including births, deaths and leavers.
Extinction threshold and the survival of churches and denominations.
Renewal
Growing the church by spiritually renewing its members
Enthusiasts are generated from existing inactive believers. Such renewal allows a critical mass of enthusiasts to initiate revival.
Spiritual Life
Enthusiasts generate spiritual life in the church, which in turn makes them more effective in conversion.
Spiritual life are those works that build people up in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, and glorify God.
Membership
Membership figures are generally greater than attendance figures in declining churches. Vice versa in growing churches. How does this come about?
migration
Migration
Inward migration can be a big help in growing a church. It can even tip a church into revival growth.

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Church Growth Modelling