How did we choose which churches to visit? I asked people living in different parts of Canada to recommend churches that were thriving. I also asked the same of a group called “Below Average” (United Church Ministers who are below the average age of ministers in the United Church–which I think is 50?). My partner and I then poured through the stats for each church, comparing 2017 with 2015. Fortunately, we found more churches than we had time to visit. So–if your church is not one of the ones on our list, it doesn’t mean that you are not thriving!

I consider churches to be thriving if they:

• have a consistent or growing membership

• are financially stable

• engage young people

• make meaningful contributions to their neighbourhood, city and world

• offer challenging, inspirational and creative worship

• offer educational opportunities for all ages

• provide a supportive faith community for people of diverse identities

• participate in justice partnerships

• foster interfaith and intercultural relationships

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