Growth: 5 new churches a year?
"The single best approach for any religious body seeking to reach, attract, serve, and assimilte younger generations and newcomers in the community is to launch three new missions annually for every one hundred congregations in that organization. A significant fringe benefit of this policy is that it usually will reduce the resources for continuing subsidies to institutions that will be healthier if they are forced to become financially self-supporting."
This, for British Unitarianism, would mean about 5 new churches a year. Assuming a 'mission' is the same as a 'church' (broadly, broadly defined). I wonder if anything like this kind of a conversation will happen at the 'growth-orientated' Annual Meetings coming up. OK, let's be really pessimistic and say 1 new congregation a year. We're probably losing congregations at about that rate anyway. Is that crazily impossible or very possible and wise?
But maybe our 'religious body' doesn't run in the same way that Schaller imagines. How much does the General Assembly subsidies our churches? Not very much. Perhaps the appropriate 'religious body' in our context would be the district. Some districts do actively subsidies member churches. Perhaps the district is the appropriate body to launch new church plants? After all districts like Merseyside and Lancashire are actually called 'Missions.' Perhaps they need to be.