‘Seeds for Church Growth’

A Practical Handbook for Episcopal Rectors

“Seeds for Church Growth: A Handbook for Episcopal Rectors.” Norman F. Somes.  CreateSpace, 2013. 152 pp.

“Seeds for Church Growth: A Handbook for Episcopal Rectors.” Norman F. Somes. CreateSpace, 2013. 152 pp.

In “Seeds for Church Growth” (CreateSpace, 2013) Norman F. Somes shares his findings from studying the actions and settings of numerous growing congregations, attending evangelism conferences and workshops, and examining a wide array of ideas for church growth. Somes, a retired priest from the Diocese of El Camino Real, explains how implementing the right ideas in a congregation can result in growth such as he experienced as rector at St. Barnabas’ Parish in Arroyo Grande, Calif., where attendance increased by 150 percent.

The 80 church-growing initiatives – “seeds” – presented in this book, along with commentary and practical tips based on years of operational experience, offer something for every parish or mission congregation and every level of funding.

Among the “seeds” for consideration are methods of sustaining the rector; drawing inspiration from others; gauging the “pH” of congregation “soil”; adjusting and promoting the church; welcoming and reassuring newcomers, and then nurturing and motivating them; emphasizing ministries for children, youth and families; and offering the means of securing financial and material resources.

This multi-option guide to growing a congregation is firmly rooted in Episcopal ethos and traditions, bearing in mind the Great Commission that Jesus places ever before us. As William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, reminded Christians, “The church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.”

“Seeds for Church Growth” can be ordered here.

“It’s good work … helpful and engaging … so many good ideas for ministry in one place … has a style that makes it an enjoyable read.” — The Rt. Rev. Michael J. Hanley, bishop of the Diocese of Oregon

“I’m always impressed when someone has the vision for capturing a piece – or many pieces – of wisdom and experience and putting them down on paper with such cohesion and generosity of spirit.” — The Rev. Sara Fischer, rector of St. David of Wales Episcopal Church, Portland, Ore.

“It provides pithy, easily accessible suggestions … demands little investment in reading before it bears practical fruit. The author’s style is clear, lively, friendly, and compassionate.” — The Rev. L.D. Wood-Hull, rector of St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church, Portland, Ore.

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