The In-Between Church: Navigating Size Transitions in Congregations

by Alice Mann. Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.

Is your congregation growing? Or perhaps your congregation is getting smaller? Regardless, it helps to know what to expect as your congregation changes. This book, by former Alban consultant Alice Mann, will help you implement changes in how your congregation functions. She states, “When organisms change significantly in size, they must also change in form.” Many congregations experience frustration as they try to adapt to more people or less people. These transition pains are hard to avoid. It doesn’t matter whether you are growing up or growing down. It is the shift that is difficult. This book identifies important issues related to size transitions. Such issues include determining the number of worship services, arriving at the appropriate number of staff, identifying the kinds of size transitions that exist and whether or not it is healthy to try to expand in size. As you understand these dynamics, they will become more manageable. Each chapter ends with application exercises. These exercises make the book practical. The book’s conversational style reinforces the invitation to not just read the book, but refer to it often as you navigate the unavoidable challenges that come with size transitions.