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Church Growth Modelling

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Model Construction

Constant Demand Model

Church does nothing to supply religion, but relies on demand by society alone.

Supply and Demand

Church supplies religion according to size. Unbelieving society demands religion according to size.

Bounded Resource

Church supplies religion according to the size of a resource generated by the church.

Self-Enhancing Resource

The bounded resource is also self-enhancing making it easier to generate once resource levels become moderate, but hard to generate when low.

Model Results

Growth Limited by Lack of Supply

Growth Limited by Lack of Demand

Growth Limited by Lack of Resource Generation

Growth Limited by Reputation


Related Blog

Limits to Growth - Part 1

Limits to Growth - Part 2

Church Growth Limited by Inadequate Resource Production

Limits to Church Growth - Results

However fast church congregations grow there comes a point where growth slows and eventually stops. What has limited its growth? Many suggestions are made: lack of physical resource, human resources stretched too much, complacency, inability to organise for size, and lack of demand.

Each model suggests interventions that may enhance growth, and avoid decline

Metaphorical Models

These models are "metaphorical". That is they are one not dependent on a specific situation, nor a domain being modelled. Instead they are generic, giving transferable insight across a wide range of real-world situations. The models that describe limits to church growth are not calibrated for particular congregations, and could be applied to growth barriers in other social organisations, businesses, populations or the environment.

Interventions for relaxing limits to growth are general principles rather than specific policies that could be carried out. They are meant to challenge and inspire people to remove barriers to growth in their churches.

The Model Results

Constant Demand
A church that makes no effort to supply religion, or interact with society, will stop growing.
To remove the growth barrier the church needs to supply religion, not just wait for people to come, and control losses.
Supply and Demand
If demand for religion in society is independent of what the church supplies, that church will stop growing.
To remove the growth barrier the church needs to create demand to match its supply, and control losses.
Bounded Resource
Church growth that depends on a resource, such as Sunday School provision, or opportunities to serve in church, will be limited as the resource becomes harder to produce.
To remove the growth barrier the church needs to maximise the effectiveness of the resource in recruiting.
Self-Enhancing Resource
Church growth that depends on a self-enhancing resource, such as its reputation, will be limited as reputation becomes harder to produce.
If the church, or its initial popularity, is below a critical mass than the church will fail to grow and head for extinction.

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Church Growth Modelling