The central hypothesis of the limited enthusiasm model is that conversion growth in the church is driven by a sub-group of church members called enthusiasts. The enthusiasts are limited in their potential to convert as they cease to be enthusiasts after a given time. As such church growth is limited as enthusiasts fail to reproduce themselves from a shrinking pool of potential converts.

The model was developed with system dynamics and implemented in “Stella Architect” produced by ISEE Systems. The online simulation is hosted by ISEE systems.

The simulation is embedded below. Alternatively, it can be opened in a separate window:

  • Hayward, J. (1999). Mathematical Modeling of Church Growth, Journal of Mathematical Sociology. 23(4), 255-292. The first paper on the limited enthusiasm model of church growth. Application to the 1904/5 Welsh Revival.
  • Hayward, J. (2002). A Dynamical Model of Church Growth and its Application to Contemporary Revivals. Review of Religious Research, 43(3),218-241. System Dynamics version of the limited enthusiasm model.
  • Hayward, J. (2005). A General Model of Church Growth and Decline. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 29(3), 177-207. The definitive version of the Limited Enthusiasm Model, including births, deaths and reversion.
  • Hayward, J. (2010). Church Growth via Enthusiasts and Renewal. 28th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, Seoul, South Korea.
  • Kelley, D.M. (1986) [1972]. Why conservative churches are growing: A study in the sociology of religion. Mercer University Press.