The Extent and Causes of Decline in Church attendance in Inglewood between 1960 and 2010
The main focus of this research is the unrelenting decline in both membership and attendance that began to affect the church in Inglewood in the 1960s. The central argument is that after a very strong Christian influence in its establishment, growth and development, the town of Inglewood began to experience overwhelming changes which became a big challenge for the church. The overall impact of these, social, cultural, economic, technological and demographic changes which came in discontinuous and unpredictable pattern was to alienate and fracture the long standing mutually symbiotic relationship between the church and the community. The town became a victim of progress as business and industry restructured and moved to the more affluent towns of New Plymouth and Hawera. population shifts occurred as employment opportunities and business prospects became limited in Inglewood. At the same time more and more young people left the town in search of tertiary education and employment opportunities elsewhere. The church became a victim of these continuous demographic shifts. A non growing community is an aging community and an aging community creates an aging church. This has been a major challenge for the church in Inglewood. Further to the transient nature of the town after 1960, this research identifies a number of conflicts, too many churches in a small town and the decision made by the churches to close down preaching places outside of the town as some of the causative factors unique to Inglewood. The data used in the research is obtained through a triangulation of archival documentary analysis, individual interviews and a questionnaire survey that are brought together in a trilogy The research recommends merger of churches to leave three churches and a change of approach from a spectator model to a more conversation based model.
Advisor: Ward, Kevin
Degree Name: Master of Ministry
Degree Discipline: Theology and Religion
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Inglewood; Church decline; Numerical; decline; church; Attendance
Research Type: Thesis