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Diocese of California Church Growth Program

Bishop Marc Andrus has challenged the parishes and congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of California  to grow our membership, average Sunday attendance and pledge revenue to expand the mission and ministry work of the church.

This is the homepage for one of three teams created by the Diocesan Executive Council to take on this challenge.  The teams are:

  1. Attendance and Membership Growth (strategies to grow ASA, membership and participation)
  2. Revenue Growth (strategies to broaden the pledge base, endowments, and revenue of the parishes)
  3. DioCal Operations & Organization (Align the Diocesan staff, organization and operations for growth)

Parish attendance and membership have been declining since 1988 in the Episcopal Church and all of the mainline protestant denominations.  The average rate of decline for the Episcopal Diocese of California has been 3.3% per year.  Unless we face this reality, by 2022 the Diocese is forecast to have 50% few pledge units (5,000) compared to 1999.

The Bishop’s goal is to reverse this decline in attendance, membership and revenue.  Our challenge is to make it happen. This homepage is the real-time story of how our Attendance and Membership Growth team is organizing our work, mobilizing the parishes and congregations across the Diocese and responding to God’s call to do the mission and ministry work of the church.

This homepage is a workbench of resources, ideas and collaboration efforts by a growing circle of people across the Diocese of California focused on Bishop’s Marc’s challenge to develop and implement strategies to grow the average Sunday attendance, parish membership and pledge base, and participation to do the mission and ministry work of the church.

Want to work on this team?

This Church Growth Program is an initiative of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of California focused on growing the membership, pledge base and average Sunday attendance across our congregations to meet the needs of the faithful.  This site is designed as a resource to the people of the Diocese involved in this effort and those who are praying for us.  For more information contact any member of the Executive Council or any of the program conveners.

The first stage is an intensive 120-day action planning process:

DioCal 120 Day Parish Growth Action Planning

At the conclusion of this process each team will make recommendations to the Bishop and Executive Council on the strategies recommendations and actions planned to get the church growing again so it can focus on doing God’s work across the Diocese.

This is a deliberate and prayerful Congregations Up! Strategy that is designed to transform the work programs, operations and organization of the Diocese to focus squarely on the following goals:

  1. Empower and support congregational growth across the Diocese of California
  2. Set clear and measurable goals for ASA, membership and revenue growth for each parish
  3. Raise up and train new generations of lay leaders and clergy to live into this growth challenge
  4. Expand the participation of the members today and those who love God and seek Christ in their lives to do the mission and ministry work of the church across the diocese and beyond.
  5. Celebrate, invite, welcome, incorporate and involve people across the rich multicultural, ethnic and lifestyle experiences that make up the Diocese of California into an inclusive, open, loving community of faith.
  6. Plan for the Diocesan future by developing mission and ministry programs that speak to the needs of people and live into the social justice, life affirming, loving values of the Episcopal Church.

Pray for us!  Help us with ideas and suggestions!  Join us!


3 responses to “About”

  1. The Rev. Fred Fenton says :

    Parish growth is accomplished from the inside out. Let me explain. In every congregation a small number of parishioners come every Sunday. The majority of pledging members are irregular in attendance. The goal is to “convert” these casual attenders to every-Sunday worship. As the pews fill up visitors come back instead of looking elsewhere and membership expands.

    What causes members to change their pattern of attendance, to worship more frequently? The answer is an unwritten covenant between priest and people. It goes something like this. “If you will get yourself to church on Sunday morning, I will work all week on a sermon that will make your effort worthwhile.”

    Sermons that relate the text to everyday life, that contain memorable stories, that produce both laughter and tears, will give members a “lift” from their Sunday worship and cause them to come back for more.

    Exciting, memorable preaching that contains valuable lessons about life is the key to church growth. Instead of concentrating, as church growth programs often do, on unchurched people in the community, we should be looking to our preaching and dynamic worship services to attract our own members to worship with increased regularity. As the pews begin to fill up, visitors will appear and decide to join a growing congregation.

  2. Gary L Hunt says :

    Very well said, Rev. Fenton!

  3. Ron Culmer says :

    I Fred Fenton, and he has a track record of growing parishes…the man knows what he is talking about! And it would be wise to mine his wisdom for all it is worth!

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