Abstract for: Church Growth via Enthusiasts and Renewal

A word-of-mouth model is constructed for the growth of a church through enthusiasts, a subset of the church members who are active in recruitment. Two mechanisms for the source of new enthusiasts are proposed: new converts, and existing church members through a process called renewal. The conversion and renewal processes are compared and policies that could enhance the growth of a church are analysed. It was found that renewal is able to lower the epidemiological threshold present in the conversion process making rapid revival growth easier to achieve, even when that conversion process is inadequate. This is in part due to the expanding network of contacts a growing church produces that can enhance the renewal process. Policies to foster church growth centre on encouraging renewal, even at the expense of traditional evangelism. Some re-grouping of churches is suggested in order to attain critical masses of enthusiasts and church members that could tip a church into growth.