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Church Growth Modelling

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Modelling Church Growth using mathematics & computer simulation.

In 1904-5 Moriah chapel was the centre of massive church growth in Wales through a God-sent revival.

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John Hayward

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Social Dynamics Research


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Computer Simulation

The models of church growth have been constructed using mathematics and system dynamics. A powerful feature of analysis for this type of modelling is to using computer simulation to explore the results. The simulation tools now available in system dynamics also make it possible to share the models and explain its construction online. The Limited Enthusiasm Model of Church Growth has now been put online in this format. Explore the model structure, challenge its assumptions, run simulations of your own. See Limited Enthusiasm Online.

Further online models concern the Growth of an Empire and the Dynastic Cycle, standard models in "historical dynamics". They use similar techniques to the church growth models as they involve the interaction of large groups of people.

Welcome to the website of Church Growth Modelling. This is a science website, so prepare to be challenged. Questions welcome. It is a Christian website promoting revival, so prepare to be challenged spiritually!

The New Ideology

Christianity is in decline in Western countries and finds itself in competition with a new ideology in the public space; a competition which Christianity is losing. The new ideology is humanist, that is the rules are made up by people, not through a fixed revelation for all time. It is largely though not exclusively atheist. Its most public manifestation at present is through the notions of diversity, inclusion, equality and tolerance. It is a "Diversity" ideology.

A model is constructed to capture this ideological competition. The model for the church is the institutional one, as long times scales are needed. A similar model is used for the Diversity Ideology, except the grass roots recruitment is omitted due to there being no local regular meetings as there are in Christian churches.

Competition tales place in the public space. Gradually the Diversity Ideology is replacing Christianity as the norms and standards that people are expected to hold. This is an initial model that will be extended over the next few months Read blog post part 1, part 2 and part 3.

The Models - Quick Guide

Limited Enthusiasm Model.
Church grows through the activity of enthusiasts who alone are responsible for the recruitment/conversion of unbelievers into the church.
Congregational Models.
Applied to the individual congregation only. Designed to assist church leaders.
Limits to Church Growth Models.
Models to illustrate barriers to church growth.
Sociological Models.
Based on theories in the sociology of religion.
What is Church Growth?
The discipline that analyses why churches grow and decline.
Sociology, Methodology, Mathematics, Computer Simulation.
What's New?
Latest additions to website
Self Enhancing Resource Model
Dynastic Cycle
Institutional Model
Geopolitical Growth
Informal articles:
Churches or Political Parties: Who has the Largest Membership?
Church Growth Limited by Inadequate Resource Production
Modelling Secularisation
Why Revivals Stopped in the UK
Church Growth - It's a Disease!
Enthusiasts are "contagious Christians"
Revival threshold
extinction threshold
Limited Enthusiasm - Revival
Understanding the dynamics of revival by analogy with the spread of a disease.
Revival growth threshold - how a small number of enthusiasts can make a big difference.
Church of England Decline
Limited enthusiasm with demographics applied to Church of England attendance data
What will it take for the church to survive?
Limits to Church Growth
What limits the growth of congregations? Lack of demand, lack of supply by the churches?
A variety of models to explore possible limits to church growth.
Limited enthusiasm with inactive believers renewed.
Renewal not evangelism is key to church growth.
Critical mass.
1904/5 Welsh Revival & Spiritual Life
Application of the Spiritual Life model to the last big revival in Wales.
Religion is modelled as a disease of variable infectiousness depending on the spiritual life of the church, spread by enthusiasts.
Under the Bonnet
What is "modelling"? What lies underneath a dynamical model - the technical details that get it to work?
Overview of modelling methodologies.
Introduction to system dynamics & agent based modelling.

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Church Growth Modelling