How does the Executive Committee intend to objectively measure numerical growth?
I ask this question as I am not aware of any publicly available figure for the number of Unitarians in Britain, other than the electoral role number for the Executive elections. But why should this number be only available as a by-product of elections? Shouldn't the number be published every year at the Annual Meetings? This is what happens in the UUA, and as a result I can easily find that the number of UU adult members is 164,656. I can also go on the UUA website and find the membership numbers for individual congregations (see here for example) Such information is public and easily available. Can such information not be available here too?
I understand the difficulties of getting those accurate numbers but if an objective is not measurable then what is the point of it? If growth is an objective it should be measurable.
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Thank you Stephen. An old management adage says 'you can't manage what you don't measure.' As you point out, it is difficult to get reliable information (and this is true in the UUA as well). Nonetheless, knowing and sharing this information could be helpful in our focus on growth.
I've never quite understood why the reported membership numbers for each congregation should be so secret. And why I only ever heard rumours of our national numbers. Are there 6,000 of us? 4,000 of us, 2,000 of us? Is that so difficult to determine? At what rate are we in decline? When will we go extinct if you follow the curve of the line? Surely the answers to such questions will determine our attitude and priorities.
I don't mind reporting that the last time I checked there were 56 members in my congregation. I have spent a good bit of time trying to make sure that number is accurate so I can measure numerical growth, but it still includes a few inactive members.
There are of course other ways to measure growth. We could pick one Sunday and all count the number of attenders in worship that Sunday (I think the Baptists do that) or we could report average worship attendance numbers. Again, I don't consider it a secret to say our average attendance in 2008 was 31 people.
All this talk about growth has been a bit airy-fairy for the last few years. If we are thinking about growth, we need to be able to measure it.