Does a Congregation's Location Influence Its Effectiveness?

by Cynthia Woolever. The Parish Paper, March 2011. Accessed November 30, 2017.
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Some rural and small-town congregation’s believe that their location impedes their growth. But researcher and writer Cynthia Woolever says this is not true: “in the vast majority of congregations, location means almost nothing!” So if not location, what is the secret? Woolever says that the secret is twofold. It is first about finding where the congregation's context and identity intersect with the surrounding community's context and identity. It is secondly about a congregation creating ministries that respond to the congregational and community contexts and identities. On her way to this conclusion, Woolever shares information and counter-intuitive examples of effective congregational ministry in a variety of locations. Woolever also offers a discussion on the “church as a neighborhood destination” and as a “third place.” This brief article mainly refers to churches, but it is a good conversation starter for any congregation that needs a new way of reflecting on its location.