Eventually, through word-of-mouth””which often turned out to be more hopeful than accurate, adds co-author Flatt””the researchers found their examples. They surveyed clergy and””a step ignored by earlier studies””2,255 lay attendees.
Answers in accord with traditional Christian orthodoxy””basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), the importance of daily prayer””were tightly bound to growing life in individual churches. As well, conservative churches had a lower mean age among attendees (53 to 63), emphasis on youth groups, the presence of young families, wide participation by congregants (not only on Sunday mornings) and a commitment to evangelism.
The lessons absorbed at growing churches are not confined there, but are being spread as ministers transfer to new churches. In recent years, two priests have left St. Paul’s Anglican to head up their own, already-established churches in Toronto, where attendance has climbed by 23-50 per cent since 2013.