12 Keys to Effective Congregations

Adapted to humanistic language appropriate to Ethical Societies, the following are the 12 keys to congregational growth, according to this model:

  1. One major effective outreach program: building a more humane world in the broader community
  2. One-to-one relationship-building within the Ethical Society: help and hope for human hurts, connection with members and friends of the Ethical Society
  3. Sunday platform meetings that are warm and welcoming, intellectually stimulating and encouraging of ethical growth and development
  4. Informal and formal groups facilitating connection for members to find relationships of sharing and caring — for roots, place and belonging.
  5. Strong lay/professional leadership team – managerial and visionary
  6. Solid, clear participatory decision-making process
  7. One major program other than Sunday platform meetings: person centered, excellent execution (might include Ethics for Children programming)
  8. Open accessibility: location, site, building and people are easy to find
  9. High visibility in the community: site, signs, communications, people
  10. Land, landscaping and parking adequate (in capacity) for normal and special event use, on Sundays and weekdays
  11. Welcoming, balanced, well-maintained space and facilities, including for Sunday meetings, weekday programs and children’s Sunday programming
  12. Adequate and well-managed financial resources, including generous financial support by members in proportion to income levels and good management of interest-bearing investments.

Numbers 1-6 are “satisfiers” which bring people into Societies and help them bond with the Society and find a satisfying experience; 7-12 are “dissatisfiers” which, if they are not there, can lead to membership frustration and dissatisfaction and even loss.

Thriving Societies do really well on about 3 of these, and don’t do terribly on the others.

Recommended Reading: Twelve Keys to an Effective Church by Kennon Callahan