Growing Churches: Three Trends We Spotted in 2017


In early 2017, the North Georgia Conference communications office asked District Superintendents to point out a few growing churches in their district. They were given the option to define growth as an increase in worship attendance, increase in mission and presence in their community, growing in small group participation, or another positive change. We followed up with several of their suggestions and have shared them over the course of the year.

In telling the stories we discovered a few trends among growing churches.

#1 Spirit of Welcome
Each of these growing churches intentionally embraces a spirit of welcome.

“People are hurting, searching, seeking,” says Rev. Jacqui Rose-Tucker. The people of Red Oak UMC are eager to give their love and support. She thinks that explains the church's increase in professions of faith. The welcoming spirit has spread to children and teens who readily invite newcomers and welcome visitors. When new parents visit, the congregation is quick to be helpful. Clothing and food drives have drawn those in need.  “No one can turn down love,” she says. “It’s just too hard to come by.”

#2 Understanding the Community 
These congregations are aware of the needs and the culture of their community. 

“We put a major emphasis on hospitality through our ministries and connecting people to Jesus Christ and one another,” explained Dr. Jason Danuser of Creekside UMC. “Most people in Forsyth County are transients, plus we are a bedroom community. We quickly discovered that a large part of what a church needs to provide is opportunities to connect with others and experience authentic community.”

#3 Empowered Lay Leadership 
The growing churches we featured all had empowered and equipped laity doing ministry. 

“My lay people can now do basically anything I can do. And they do what I can’t!” said Rev. Dr. Gregory Williams of Golden Memorial UMC.

Read (or re-read) each of our Growing Church feature stories at the links below: