Size Transitions in Congregations

(Beth Ann Gaede). The Alban Institute, 2001.

An anthology of fifteen articles exploring the impact of size transitions on congregational life, this resource builds on Arlin Rothauge’s classification and functional definition of four size-based church types (family, pastoral, program, and corporate). Theodore Johnson examines some common misunderstandings in Rothauge’s theory and offers a helpful methodology for making size transitions. Roy Oswald addresses what members expect of clergy in different size churches. Bill Joiner asks whether growth is worth the price of change and supplies a way to help congregations determine their answers. Alice Mann, Roy Oswald, and Daphne Burt explore the “downside” of size transitions, noting challenges faced by churches declining in size or at the point of “death.” Whether congregations are struggling to grow in size, experiencing rapid growth, or slowly declining in number, this resource will be helpful to clergy and lay leaders seeking to understand size transitions and the problems they create.