Thinking about opening a Congregational church? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
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Congregational Churches: Local & Autonomous
The term "congregational" can be confusing given the fact that it is used in a variety of church settings. Independent (or non-denominational) churches employ congregational polity, meaning that they are autonomous, self-governing religious institutions. However, churches that call themselves a "congregational church" usually fall into a specific sub-category of Christian Protestantism.
Self-identified "Congregational churches" can trace their roots back to the days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sometimes known as "Congregationalists", these churches tend to be fiercely independent and traditional. If you're looking for electric guitars and projector screens, you probably won't find them in organizations that market themselves as Congregational churches.
Instead, Congregational churches are a bastion of traditional Protestantism. Many Congregational church members come from Congregationalist backgrounds, while others find comfort in the simple architecture, traditional worship and classic preaching style to be found in Congregationalist churches across New England and throughout the nation.
Some Congregationalist churches elect to voluntarily participate in religious associations of like-minded churches. The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches is an example of an association that exists to serve Congregational churches and clergy.
How to Draw People to a New Congregational Church
Congregational church leaders and members are traditionalists. So it's easy to see why there may be resistance to church marketing principles. But with so many spiritual options to choose from, people expect all types of churches to communicate with them through a variety of marketing and messaging channels -- and Congregational church plants are no exception.
As you begin to promote your new church in the local community, you will adopt what the experts call a "marketing mix" -- a combination of tactics and techniques for communicating your message to prospective attenders. Evaluating your marketing mix is an important and never-ending task. The best mix will always be the one that offers the right combination of market exposure, cost and bottom line impact.
These additional resources regarding starting a religious organization may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing Congregational church, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to Congregational churches, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
We offer startup guides for other religions. View some of our sample guides below.