Sure, new large and programatic church starts are sexy, but I suspect real (and affordable) numerical growth will come from the small- and medium-sized members of the UUA.
Been crunching numbers, and now that 255 congregations have been certified, I can report again.
Bad news: of those 255, there is a net gain of 805, including the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s new 310. That’s about two new members per congregation, if averaged, and that’s not so good.
But four small- and medium- sized church have bucked this trend. Who are they? Read on . . . .
I looked at the congregations that grew by more than 20% in the last year, and which reported last year, and so didn’t hide two years’ growth in one report. Of course, it is easier for a very, very small church to grow by 20% or more. (The reverse is true; the biggest percentile losers are also very, very small.) I’ve lain the tinest aside as statistical flukes.
Even so, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern, North Carolina — so far — has grown the most, going form 33 to 46 members, an increase of 39.4%
Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas is noteworthy for going from 112 to 150 members; a 33.9% increase. So, too are . . .
Humbolt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Bayside, California (from 146 to 189; an increase of 29.5%) and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, Kansas, going from 115 ro 139, an increase of 20.1%
(The first and last have ministers and the middle two don’t, in case you harbor a strong opinion one way or another.)
So where’s the lesson here? My little elves, you could be a great help and help me figure out why these churches grew, and so many didn’t.