Aside from the preaching and teachings, people attend a given church and stay as members or walk away for many varied reasons. Therefore church membership recruitment and retention has always been a challenge to church organizations globally. People tend to invite friends and families to a church that meets their spiritual and other needs. This narrative inquiry captures the methods used in examining the faith journeys of members of a given congregation, thereby bringing the membership together and thus facilitating strategic planning and management of human and material resources within the church organization.
In this era of church proliferation and prosperity gospel/preaching, recruitment and retention of church membership has taken a whole new dimension. What attracts people to a given church congregation and what is it that makes them stay or move on? Aside from the dynamism of the preacher what else keeps the congregation connected and functioning? Is it a function of the quality of the membership as well as how well they know the faith journeys of other members of the congregation and how comfortable they are with them and more importantly the predominant church culture?
Participant observation, interviews complemented by a survey of select congregational members as well as document analysis served as information sources that were analyzed for this study.
Knowing members of your congregation, where they have been to through their faith journeys helps not only the pastor and church leadership to better understand their membership but also the members of the congregation to know and understand each other.
Results could be useful in placement of members in appropriate roles in church governance and management. It also adds value to church membership and community standing especially if they are involved in social justice issues
The principal author is an associate librarian, a researcher and interested in qualitative research. He has done studies on narrative inquiry and is fascinated about using ethnography as a research tool in areas outside of anthropology/sociology.