An analysis of congregational leadership factors and growth of middle-sized Churches of Christ in the western United States
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This dissertation examines the relationship between congregational growth through the 200 barrier in middle-sized Churches of Christ in the western United States and various leadership factors. The 200 barrier is a "glass ceiling" of sociological factors that limits further congregational growth unless needed changes take place. The precedent literature in the field that applies to the 200 barrier includes studies in new member assimilation strategies, changing organizational structures, and changing congregational self-perceptions. Two surveys were developed for congregations participating in the study. Survey "A" solicited internal congregational demographical information from the pulpit minister. Survey "B" solicited input from decade-long congregational members on the attitudes and structures of the congregation that may affect growth through the 200 barrier. The bivariate correlation was used to identify the strength of the relationship between various pairs of data. Means and percentages were also used in the interpretation of data. Seven "limiting factors" were discovered that may hinder a particular congregation's growth through the 200 barrier: "Small church" self-perceptions, a lack of vision for the future, inadequate ministerial staffing, short ministerial tenure, too few belonging groups, too few "new" groups for new member assimilation, and "pastoral church structures" that predominate over "program church" structures.