If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. It is widely believed that the planting of new churches is a cause of church growth, regardless of culture or context. However, surprisingly little reliable and relevant data are presented to support this claim.
If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the warum bleiben manche frauen single manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. It is widely believed that the planting of new churches is a cause of church growth, regardless of culture or context.
However, surprisingly German american dating sites Germinating and growing reliable and relevant data are presented to support this claim. In this article recent membership data of the Bund Freier evangelischer Gemeinden Association of Free Evangelical Congregations in Germany is explored to examine the relationship between church planting and church growth. The data show that there is indeed a positive correlation, but since there is also a clear correlation between rapid growth and decline, the evidence should be treated with care.
In the secular parts of the West many churches are in decline. This trend has stimulated a search for growth strategies, among which the planting of new churches is often considered as one of the most reliable methods. In fact, especially among evangelical Protestants, it is widely believed that church planting furthers numerical growth, including conversion growth.
That is, it is believed that younger churches are more flexible and more outreach-oriented. Also, smaller churches are claimed to be more likely to grow, as they are supposedly more efficient in their management of members and mission, and more relationship-oriented. Unfortunately, there is little reliable evidence either supporting or refuting these claims. Many churches do not keep accurate membership records, and those that do, very often present their figures in nontransparent ways, rendering it impossible to distinguish between the various sources of growth.
Also, growth-oriented churches often present their undifferentiated membership figures as German american dating sites Germinating and growing for church growth, without inspecting their data to see where the growth comes from. For example, adult baptisms alli simpson and tanner dating be considered as ipso facto evidence for the influx of new believers, while many of these newcomers might very well come from other churches or from Christian families within the church.
Moreover, research that seems to support claims of church growth is often based on spurious or inaccessible data, or it suffers from serious methodological flaws. Together with Alrik Vos, I have presented some figures based on recent research in three Dutch Reformed denominations suggesting that church plants are indeed better at attracting converts and returnees at least five times as many as older German american dating sites Germinating and growing.
However, this research, although conducted with scientific rigor and based on fairly accurate data, works with very unequal sample sizes: Recently, new high-quality material has become available, which I discuss in this article. The data under review are the complete membership records of the Bund Freier evangelischer Gemeinden Association of Free Evangelical Congregations in Germany for the period December 31,to December 31, Currently, there are nearly BFeG-churches all over Germany, comprising around 40, members.
As a so-called free church, the BFeG is one of the smaller churches in Germany, dwarfed in size by the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland Protestant Church in Germanywith its millions of members. Compared with other free churches in Germany e. As a classic revivalist church, it is eager to evangelize and expand.
Its website even has a separate section on church planting, explaining the methodology of planting and the way an existing church can become recognized as a BFeG congregation. The website also introduced a plan to establish one hundred new churches between and ; sixty-nine were actually realized.
Altogether, the BFeG is thus a good case study on the success of a growth-through-planting strategy in Europe. The fact that the denomination keeps meticulous records of membership developments, using many refined and rather well-defined categories, is a very helpful factor in assessing these strategies. In this article I first address some terminological and methodological issues, then propose three hypotheses about the relationship between church planting and church growth.
In the following sections I test these hypotheses, using the BFeG data. The article concludes with some strategic comments on church planting in secular Europe. Church growth can be due to births, transfers from other churches, and German american dating sites Germinating and growing conversions. If figures for these categories exceed the losses by deaths, transfers to other churches, and church leaving, a church has grown.
By presenting different categories of growth and decline in its membership, the BFeG membership records make single frauen mindelheim possible to distinguish between these categories of growth.
In this article I concentrate on three figures: All growth figures are calculated with reference to the membership as of December 31, Thus, for example, a church that grew from to members between and has a total increase of 10 percent in these four years.
If churches were planted afterI have calculated their growth relative to their year of founding. With regard to my three types of growth mentioned above, I have used for type 1 the membership figures as of the end of the years and German american dating sites Germinating and growing The difference between the two is the absolute growth of this particular church over these four years.
The growth category of conversions is distinguished from other growth categories such as transfers or baptism candidates who grew up in the church.
All calculations German american dating sites Germinating and growing based on those who have registered as members, which is the least insecure way to measure growth and decline. People can become members in the BFeG through a public confession of faith and baptism. Infants are not baptized and therefore are not registered as members.
This category is not specified in the records, and it is not included in my calculations. I have left them out as well. Do the BFeG data allow us to support the claim that church planting furthers church growth? In order to examine this issue, I have formulated three general hypotheses that will be tested.
These hypotheses can be found in virtually every handbook on church planting, and I have discussed them at length in my recent study of church planting in Europe. As for the second hypothesis sizeno significant results were found.
In other words, with regard to the BFeG there is no clear partnersuche frauen mit kind between church size and church growth.
In order to save space, I will therefore discuss only the first and American gay dating site Siemens drives forward digital transformation hypotheses.
First, however, I will present some general figures pertaining to the BFeG as a whole. The following table presents some general figures about the BFeG as a whole for the four-year period December 31,to December 31, As for the number of churches, I have omitted one church because its data were polluted.
Also, a number of churches closed between and I have not included them in the number of churches, but I did include their membership numbers in the data for —15 under the assumption that Free online dating north yorkshire 1965 members remained within the BFeG.
As a whole, it appears that the BFeG experiences numerical growth 0. Also, the rate of converts per member per year is quite high, at German american dating sites Germinating and growing when compared to other churches. Elsewhere I have argued that the average conversion rate in secularized Europe may be around one convert per — members per year. This finding agrees with the general claim in social German american dating sites Germinating and growing literature that more conservative churches are more likely to grow than more liberal churches.
However, we see that the denomination does not succeed in drawing enough converts to compensate for its losses in terms of church leavings; although experiencing overall growth, the BFeG has a net conversion loss conversions minus leavers of ca. In order to test the age hypothesis, I have divided the BFeG churches into ten-year samples based on their year of establishment.
Grouping them in this way results in fourteen samples, two of which cover a slightly longer period than ten years to prevent awkward samples. This is true for the —45 sample, since no churches were planted between andand only four churches between and Also the oldest sample, representing establishment years —75, covers a somewhat longer period, producing one sample with sixteen churches rather than two very small samples with German american dating sites Germinating and growing and seven churches.
From figure 2 it appears that the BFeG has accelerated its church planting, especially since the s. More than 40 percent of all currently existing churches have been planted since However, these figures represent only the present distribution of churches. For example, eight churches closed infive dating from —, and three from — If the same number of church closings has happened in previous years, we should expect that more older churches have disappeared.
So, although the figures clearly suggest that the BFeG plants more churches than it used to do, the figures must be taken with some caution. Most likely, older churches are underrepresented, as a larger number of these have closed. As for the membership distribution and the average congregational size per age sample, the picture is somewhat different. It is no surprise that the —95 sample contains the largest German american dating sites Germinating and growing group, for this sample is the second largest in number of churches.
However, the youngest sample —15which has the most churches, has a far smaller membership—in fact, the smallest average congregational size of all samples. Figure 3 also shows that older churches tend to be somewhat bigger. Taking the range of statistical normality roughly between 60 and9 the difference in congregational size between the oldest sample —75 and the youngest sample —15 is considerable: Most other samples hover around the BFeG average congregational size of 86 members German american dating sites Germinating and growing church.
Therefore, the difference in size heidelberg singletrails the oldest and the youngest sample cannot be solely explained as a consequence of age after all, older churches have had more time to grow.
Even the second oldest sample —85 has considerably smaller memberships than the oldest vs. German american dating sites Germinating and growing available data partnersuche brackenheim it very likely that age is an important factor in church growth.
Figure 4 shows growth percentages of each sample. The pattern is highly suggestive: The youngest sample —15 has grown by no less than Either way, this is strong evidence that church growth in the BFeG is age-related. While undifferentiated church growth undisputedly happens more in younger churches than in older churches, it remains to be seen whether this is also the case with conversion growth.
Figure 5 shows conversion growth and church leaving in all samples in absolute numbers. From this figure we see that every sample has more leavers than converts. Also, it appears that generally the younger samples have more converts and more leavers. This pattern becomes even clearer when we look at percentages. Figure 6 confirms that younger churches tend to draw more converts, relatively, but they also suffer more losses from church leaving.
Assuming that all results between 2 and 5 percent conversion growth fall within the normal range, German american dating sites Germinating and growing samples —85 and — perform below expectations, while two younger samples —75 and —15 perform better than expected. Altogether, the higher conversions are found in the youngest samples — In fact, only one sample is performing slightly worse: Especially the latter is interesting, since this is by far the best net conversion growth in the BFeG.
Much of this performance can be explained, again, by the already mentioned Church X, which belongs to the oldest sample, and which attracted 72 converts alone 63 percent of all converts in this sample.
Also this is virtually the only church in this sample with a positive net conversion growth 9. All this would mean a significant loss German american dating sites Germinating and growing with and without the youngest sample included with regard to undifferentiated growth, and normal scores for conversion growth and net conversion growth.
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