Several months ago, there was a leadership meeting offered at the Fellowship, which focused on growth. The information presented during the meeting was based on Loren B. Mead’s book, More Than Numbers: The Way Churches Grow and was adapted as a UUA weekend training.. In his book, he outlined four aspects of growth and stated that a vital, growing congregation would experience growth in all of these aspects. The four aspects of growth and a brief description are outlined below:
Numerical Growth The number of members, specifically active members rather than names in the book. Are our trends in membership in keeping with the area and region both in Unitarian Universalism and in national faith trends.
Maturational Growth is growth in the religious maturity of our individual members. Are we able to nurture ourselves and others within the congregation. A healthy, growing congregation empowers its members to contribute their unique talents and gifts for the well-being of the whole. Maturational growth emphasizes the need for members to move beyond the consumer orientation to church membership to more of a personal ministry. Meaning that we are moving from an approach of expecting the organization to deliver them spiritual care to that of contributing one’s unique talents and gifts through a sense of personal ministry.
Organic Growth is the growth of the congregation as a functioning community. Organic growth requires internal policies, practices, recruiting and planning for leaders. Evaluation of programs and hired staff and practices to deal with conflict.
Incarnational Growth is taking Unitarian Universalist beliefs and values to the outside community, society and world. It’s how we make a difference in the world.
I found this “Leadership” meeting to be very informative and personally significant. I put the term in quotes because these meetings are not limited to designated leaders. They are open to everyone and will help individual growth and understanding of our beloved community. I invite and encourage you to attend any of the growth oriented meetings/classes that are offered at the Fellowship. These lead us to greater understanding and enhance the natural leader in each of us.
On a different note, we are about to experience another type of growth – that of our physical building. Our long time planning is coming to fruition. We may have some growth challenges to face, but so much excitement is on our horizons. In Faith, Carol-Lee Baker, Board Member at Large