Is your church growing numerically?

Thank you for participating in our investigation of “bright spots” – identifying what is different when growth happens in local churches of various sizes. We expect as we continue over time, certain common factors will emerge that can work in other churches of the same size. Please feel free to generate the information below in whatever way is helpful to you. You can …

3415749081_e2ed50188b_z“Bright Spots” Questions
Main question: 
What are the differences that led to growth in your local church when so many other similar churches did not grow?

– Is there anything uniquely different about your town compared to other similar communities?

– Is there anything uniquely different about your location or building compared to other similar churches?
– Is there anything uniquely different about your church program, activities or events?

– Is there anything uniquely different about your church’s worship?
– Is there anything uniquely different about your church’s learning and Christian education?

– Is there anything uniquely different about your church’s spiritual practices … prayer and spiritual disciplines?

– Is there anything uniquely different about your church’s governing structure?

– Is there anything uniquely different about you as a pastor? Style, skills, personality, education, etc.

– Is there anything uniquely different about your paid staff (if you have them)?
– Is there anything uniquely different about how your church approaches stewardship and finance?

– What is the level of conflict in your church? How has it changed from before, during and after growth?

– Any other notable differences from other United Methodist Churches?

– Was this a great year or has growth continued in a consistent manner?

– What is the excitement level in your church? How has it changed from before, during and after growth?

– What are people excited about?

– Are there particular lay leaders who have played a significant role in your growth?

– Have you had events designed to raise the spiritual level of your church, which played a role in growth?  (Revival, consultant, workshop, etc.)

– Is there anything else that seemed significant to you in your church’s season of numerical growth?

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Information on “Bright Spots” and Positive Deviance –
     In 1990, Jerry Sternin was sent by Save the Children to fight severe malnutrition in rural communities of Vietnam. The Vietnamese foreign minister, having seen many such “do-gooder” missions in the past, gave him just six months to make a difference. Sternin was well-versed in the academic literature on the complex systemic causes of malnutrition – poor sanitation, poverty, lack of education, etc. He considered such information “T.B.U.” – “True But Useless.” There was no way a strategy focused on changing these deeply rooted issues could see results in six months.
     Sternin used an approach that he would later call positive deviance. He traveled to villages and met with the foremost experts on feeding children: groups of village mothers. He asked them whether there were any very poor families whose children were bigger and healthier than the typical child, even though their families had only the same resources available to all. Hearing that the answer was “yes,” Sternin and villagers set out to discover what the mothers of the healthiest children were doing differently…
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Quoted from Wikipedia: Positive deviance (PD) is an approach to behavioral and social change based on the observation that in any community, there are people whose uncommon but successful behaviors or strategies enable them to find better solutions to a problem than their peers, despite facing similar challenges and having no extra resources or knowledge than their peers…. The concept first appeared in nutrition research in the 1970s. Researchers observed that despite the poverty in a community, some poor families had well nourished children. Some suggested using information gathered from these outliers to plan nutrition programs… 
   The PD approach was first operationalized and applied in programming in the field by Jerry and Monique Sternin through their work with Save the Children in Vietnam in the 1990s (Tuhus-Dubrow, Sternin, Sternin & Pascale).
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Chip and Dan Heath … finding “bright spots” – from the book on organizational change, Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard.
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Photo “Follow Spring 2” courtesy of Tim Bouwer via the Flickr.com Creative Commons License.

From https://www.flickr.com/photos/bowtoo/3415749081
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