Publisher: United Methodist Publishing House | Date published: 03/18/2002
Five different strategies for increasing the size of the congregation are developed by Lyle E. Schaller -- with applications to small, middle-sized, and larger churches. Schaller also includes comments on the formulation of a workable denominational strategy for church growth. No church exists in complete isolations from all other churches, notes Schaller, "although thousands of congregations appear not to believe it."
Effectively using an informative case-history approach to outlining church-growth strategies, Schaller works from several basic assumptions. Visitation evangelism is the ideal method of obtaining new members, he says, but it is not always appropriate. He warns of the tendency of long-established congregations to attract "new" members from other churches..."the circulation of the saints."
Schaller also assumes that every church's approach to growth will rest on a foundation of its values, goals, dreams, prejudices, assumptions, interpretations of reality, theological perspectives, and understanding of the biblical imperative. It is good, says Schaller, for Christians to be members of congregations; it is good for congregations to receive new members; and it is good for denominations to grow in numbers.