• Most services are too long and too wordy. People want space to
find God. Try not to fill it up with distractions.
• There are people who want to hover round the edges of
religion: to look at the graves; sit in an empty church; go to the
carol service; run a club. The C of E is as much for them as it is
for those who want to plunge in. Make sure there are ways people
can engage at all levels.
• Leaders: be open about your doubts and fears.
• If a lay person can do it better, let her/him.
• If you are a preacher or teacher, express yourself clearly,
and make your point in five minutes.
• Liturgy works when it's not too relaxed and not too formal.
Aim for relaxed formality.
• Don't claim overfamiliarity with God.
• Remember that people love to learn new skills.
• A lot of people aren't looking for community. They're looking
for a break from it.
• Churches work when they offer wholeness and holiness.
• Churches grow when they offer people life-giving connection
with the sacred.
• Church buildings have things people treasure: history, beauty,
continuity. Find ways to let people reconnect with them.
• Work in partnership not competition with other providers of
holiness and wholeness.
• Churches grow when they give people have voice and choice.
That's a major part of the success of the Charismatic movement. We
live in an age of participation; people don't want to be
• Churches should be much more upfront about what they offer.
People need to know what they're getting.
• Churches decline when the clergy try to impose a style or
theology different from that of the congregation. Obvious, but it
still happens much too often.
Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster