NEW CONGREGATIONS: Security and Mission in Conflict by Motz Donald L.

NEW CONGREGATIONS: Security and Mission in Conflict

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A study of six new suburban congregations, initiated in the San Francisco Bay area by the United Presbyterian Church, is summarized in this book. The study was undertaken on a grant from the Institute of Strategic Studies of the denomination, and was conducted by the Survey Research Center of the University of California. Data was secured through depth interviews, questionnaires, and denominational records. The two basic questions to which the study was directed were: 1) how does the actual character of a new congregation compare with its formal goals? and 2) how does a new congregation come to develop its particular character? The evidence revealed a significant divergence between the ministers' perceptions of goals (usually stated in the theological language of the denomination) and the members' perception of their goals (usually pragmatic in character). The result was that the pressure of ""survival"" goals (increase of membership, budget, buildings) led to a displacing of the ""mission"" goals on which the founding of a new congregation was rationalized. Although the findings of the study are not new in some respects, the summary presented here given clarity and cogency to the conclusions reached by the author. This could be a most instructive book for members and ministers of congregations in both new and old churches, and of any denomination. It represents the kind of sociological approach to the church which is greatly needed.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1967
Publisher: Westminster