Church growth is – in my experience – a strange, somewhat unpredictable and rather random thing. Not so much a programme which delivers defined outcomes within a timescale. Rather more something which you become aware of and wonder about.
I used to watch people sort of wandering into church life. They weren’t quite sure what t hey were looking for – and less sure about what they had found. But if it was what they needed, they would stick. What makes the difference is the quality of life of the faith community – and Pentecost.
It’s that kind of growth which we were trying to mark liturgically on Sunday – Pentecost – at Crieff in our Strathearn Group of churches. We had a baptism – and three Affirmations of Baptism/Confirmations. I say to congregations in these moments that these things would not be happening unless they had become the kind of communities in which it was possible or likely that people would experience a call of faith – or maybe the kind of community which people can see as offering support for the next stage of their journey.
We had to do a bit of tweaking to persuade our liturgy to express the same flexibility – but that’s all in a day’s work