Dougherty Kevin D. ,
Mobilizing Members: Congregational Strategies for Increasing Participation,
Antonianum, 77/2 (2002) p. 317-334
Summary: The voluntary nature of American religion necessitates the commitment and participation of members for religious organizations to survive. Like other organizations in competitive environments, congregations employ strategies to enhance performance. Membership participation in terms of time and money are primary performance criteria for the congregation. This paper probes the performance implications of congregational strategy by drawing on the National Congregations Study, a nationally representative sample of 1236 American congregations. Four dimensions of congregational strategy are explored: distinctiveness, recruitment, worship music, and small groups. Findings attest to the importance of congregational strategies for explaining time-oriented and money-oriented participation. Distinctiveness is a key predictor of worship service participation, irrespective of religious tradition. However, no single organizational variable consistently predicts financial participation across traditions.