Channing Memorial Church
Year of Decision 2006-2007
Committee Information & Resources
Channing and Growth
Subject: Channing and Growth
Issue: Channing is changing. It is experiencing to some degree each of the four types of Congregational growth: Numerical, Maturational, Organic, and Incarnational. Channing faces a challenge common to Congregations which are growing: it is experiencing each type of growth at a different rate. To grow, the rate of growth in each area must be aligned with the others so that resources can match Congregational needs and desires.
For more details on the types and dynamics of church growth click here.
- Maturational and Incarnational Growth are related to needs and desires.
- Maturational: growth of individuals in faith, spirituality.
- Icarnational: how Congregation engages community to make it a better place.
- Numerical and Organic Growth are related to resources.
- Numerical: involves worship/RE attendance, budget size, program size.
- Organic: growth in systems, programs, processes to support Congregational life.
- Since 1996, Channing has been experiencing growth in all four areas:
- Maturational: shared ministry with settled minister provides for greater and deeper exploration of individual spirituality and faith.
- Incarnational: development of robust social justice program, embrace of welcoming congregation, Hot Topics, this year’s focus on climate change, community outreach in social activities and even some political issues, greater exposure of Sanctuary as architectural treasure of the community.
- Numerical: greater attendance at worship services, significant increase in programs, 16.8 % average annual increase in pledges.
- Organic: more standing committees, greater involvement by entire community in leadership, coordination, and just plain work.
- Growth in each area, however, is becoming increasingly misaligned:
- At first focus discussion, Congregation expressed a desire to continue Maturational and Incarnational Growth.
- Numerical Growth not in synch with this desire:
- Membership totals have remained “flat” for over a decade.
- Amount and number of pledges, while increasing, has not kept pace with costs.
- Organic Growth also not in synch.
- Increasing “burn-out” among church leaders as programs become too large for small cadre of volunteers to manage.
- Increasing difficulty finding new leadership – example: Pledge secretary, nominating committee, endowment committee all were difficult to fill this year. Both committees have open seats.
Channing Congregation faced with a choice: Increase rate of Organic and Numerical growth to provide resources for growing needs and desires or accept smaller growth or even “negative growth” in Maturational and Incarnational.
Talking Points Developed by Channing Transition Team