International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Enthusiasm and Congregation Growth: Evidence from the United Methodist Church
Simon Medcalfe, Cecil Sharp

Using a data set of over 800 churches from the North Georgia United Methodist Conference we find support for congregation growth being associated with internal factors specific to individual churches such as worship attendance (time commitment), identified givers (money commitment) and new believers joining the congregation (evangelism commitment). External factors such as income growth, location, competition, and population growth are not associated with growing churches. However, churches can still grow even if they lose members. Worship attendance as a proxy for member enthusiasm in growing churches is positively associated with predominantly female, newer, and youthful congregants, but in declining churches is associated with congregations that are predominantly white.

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