The Unitarian Universalist Association is in decline by many measures: number of certified members, average Sunday morning attendance, enrollment in religious education programs. Now obviously this decline is an average across all congregations; some congregations are growing and thriving, while others are declining. So is there a way out of decline?
I don’t believe there is some magic bullet that will infallibly cure decline. Nor am I an ideologue who believes there there is one root cause from which all decline springs — that is, I don’t believe that we’re declining because of our polity, or because we’re not Evangelical Christian, or because we’re mostly white. As a historical materialist, I do believe that there are some broad demographic trends that are pushing us in certain directions. But I also believe that every congregation finds itself in a slightly different and therefore unique setting, with a unique set of pressures and opportunities. Specific techniques for growth that work in my congregation may not work for your congregation, and vice versa.
Having said that, there are at least three obvious principles that can help us reverse decline. Continue reading “The way out of decline”