How to Start a Church
Opening a Friends Church
Here's some helpful information that is ideal for those of you who plan on opening a Friends church. Read this advice before you open up shop.
Thinking about opening a Friends church? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Quakers, also known as the "Religious Society of Friends" or simply "Friends", occupy a unique place on the American and global religious scenes. In contrast to many other religious traditions, Quakers tend to shun hierarchy, favoring a communal approach to worship, administration and even decision making. Although practices vary by geography and subgroup, it's common for meetings to incorporate long periods of silence, personal testimony and group consensus.
Local Friends congregations are referred to as meetings, and participate in regular weekly gatherings in either a dedicated or shared space. Monthly business meetings are also typical, during which all of the meetings' participants engage in reflection and decision making. Regional meetings occur quarterly. Many Quaker meetings choose to belong to national/international Friends organizations such as Friends General Conference, Friends United Meeting or Evangelical Friends International.
Since the organizational structure of Quakerism lends itself to informal, participatory gatherings, there are relatively few barriers to entry for religious entrepreneurs interested in launching a Quaker meeting. However, a thorough knowledge of Quaker theology and practice as well as relationships within the Quaker community are essential for startup leaders.
Using PR to Grow a New Friends Church
Growing a startup Friends meeting presents several unique challenges, not the least of which is the fact that Quakerism isn't as familiar to the general public as other religious traditions. To bridge the gap, religious entrepreneurs need to proactively educate the public about Quaker theology and beliefs.
Public relations is a valuable educational resource for the Quaker community. Successful Friends meetings know the value of PR and how to attract media attention to the issues that are most important to them. In the business community, understanding publicity and public relations is a critical startup skill set -- and one that shouldn't be ignored during the formative stages of your Quaker meeting.
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