GLEDHILL, Ruth, "Less is more when it comes to worshippers." The Times of London, England, March 17, 2001. "A survey of more than 8000 churches of all denominations has stunned church leaders." The findings include:

"Small country churches with congregations of eight to ten are the fastest growing. Big suburban and inner-city evangelical churches, however, where worshipers number 400 or more are becoming a turn-off."

"Churches which put on youth services double their chance of growth."

"Churches using evangelism courses such as Alpha, Emmaus and Credo show growth but only if they use the course for at least three years. Running it once makes no difference."

"Researchers also examined the theological background of clergy to see if the theological college they attended improved their chances of success at filling pews. They were surprised to find no statistical difference at all."

"Cell churches meet during the week for fellowship and Bible study. Members often evangelize in their local area and meet up with other "cells" for worship in the main church building on Sundays."

Ruth Gledhill wrote that "Church of England attendance has dropped to less than a million for the first time." But I myself wonder if this is significant? Obviously large numbers are discovering the joy of belonging to a small group where they know each other personally. That totally skews the statistics of regular church attendance.

Jesus said "Make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to keep (tyreo means hold, preserve) all that I have ordained (as in Hebrews 9:20) for you." If we want to do statistics, what has to be measured in a country is how many people are familiar with what Jesus said in the Gospels and are interested in learning more. And compared with sitting in a huge congregation, meeting with a few others is by far the most effective way of doing that.

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