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Growing and Flourishing

The Ecology of Church Growth

Growing and Flourishing

The Ecology of Church Growth

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Paperback / softback


Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334057345
Number of Pages: 192
Published: 30/01/2019
Width: 13.5 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

What is genuine church growth? Is it, at heart, the numerical growth of regular congregations or are there other dimensions and, if so, what are they? How can we learn from other contexts in order to properly inform our understanding of what we mean by church growth?

Mara is one of the most marginalised regions in Tanzania, which in turn is a country in the most marginalised continent on the planet, and yet, Spencer argues, the church in the region has exhibited remarkable growth.

Looking beyond the usual dimensions of church growth discourse, Stephen Spencer weaves in his own experience in Tanzania, finding in that wholly different context an approach to church growth which might entirely change the discourse in the global north.



1. A Tanzanian Journey

At the Margins and at the Centre

On the Ground

Voices of New Christians

The Pastor

The Director of Evangelism


2. What, then, is Church Growth?

Different Dimensions of Growth

An Ecclesiology of Growth


3. Stages of Growth

Institutional Growth

Congregational Relationships

Evangelistic Communication

Sacramental Expression

Community Service



4. From Theory to Practice

Which Framework?

Some Practical Principles


5. Bringing Mara Growth Home

Into Local Schools

To Messy Church

To Godly Play

The Missing Piece

Conclusion: God Gives the Growth

References and Further Reading

Stephen Spencer

Stephen Spencer is Director for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, based in London, and author of books on William Temple, Anglicanism and Christian mission.

“Careful and encouraging, provocative and challenging, this book is much needed. Spencer shows effectively how the Church in the West can learn from distant cultures, and bears the fruit of strong international partnership links.” -- Rt Revd Nicholas Baines, Bishop of Leeds

“Theological education is assumed to flow "from the West to the rest" - but does it really? This ground-breaking book gives a concrete example of how the learning of churches in Tanzania is instructive for church growth in Britain. Stephen Spencer has been a leader in Anglican theological education for many years and has already made important contributions to mission studies. This book demonstrates how the global connections forged by missions of the past facilitate mutual learning and new pathways in mission today.” -- Kirsteen Kim, Professor of Theology and World Christianity, Fuller Theological Seminary



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