In the 1980s Saarinen and Bullard developed thinking about the lifecycle of a congregation. Understanding some of the lifecycle theories can help us reflect on where a congregation or church might be in its life and what the possibilities for the future may be.  This section of the website aims to help congregations and churches reflect on this. No theory is ever perfect - and much has changed since the 1980s, so there is need to relate this to each particular context, but it is hoped that these materials will provide some underpinning materials to engage in such processes.

Billy Abraham pointed out in his book, The Logic of Renewal, that we need to diagnose our situation and then apply a correct response. Applying the wrong medicine to a patient at the wrong time is usually very problematic. By understanding the stage in a lifecycle of the congregation it may be possible to understand the best medicine to apply for optimum results.

Often these theories are similar to the lifecycles of other organisations and more generalised approaches, but in reflecting on the lifecycle of churches it is important that these theories are linked to discernment processes that enable  congregations to explore where God's Spirit might be leading.