Assimilating New Members (Creative leadership series) by Lyle E. Schaller

By Lyle E. Schaller

Christian booklet

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Eventually the new building is completed, and the attendance at Sunday morning worship now averages 175. The members come together every Sunday morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and experience a psychological defeat as two-thirds of the seats are empty. In simple terms, one very effective means of keeping your church from growing is to place your trust in architectural evangelism rather than in person-to-person evangelism. The Impact of Self-Image Closely related to these last two procedures is a sixth approach that has been used by thousands of congregations to avoid the challenges and changes that usually accompany church growth.

Today church growth is emerging as a top priority in many denominations and in thousands of congregations. Much has been written on how to encourage church growth and on the recruitment of new members. Workshops are being offered all across the country to train both the clergy and laity in the skills necessary to develop a growing church. These are important issues, and they deserve the attention they are receiving, but the emergence of this high priority on church growth has obscured another related and very important skill that has been developed to a very high level of competence in thousands of congregations This is the skill of discouraging church growth and the ability to discourage potential members from uniting with the church.

Too often congregations, by their actions, attitudes, and traditions, tend to cause people to stay away completely or to cause the church-shoppers to continue looking elsewhere for a new church home. These first three chapters represent an attempt to sensitize church leaders to these barriers. In this chapter the focus shifts to the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion. Perhaps the clearest method of presenting this concept is to look at a series of circles. One means of illustrating the basic concept is to use two examples that may be found in the congregation with two full-time ordained ministers on the staff.

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