How Church Leadership May Influence Growth by Applying an Organizational Life Cycle Perspective on Church Development


Life cycle theory
growth barriers
church growth
church development

How to Cite

Jenssen, J. I. (2020). How Church Leadership May Influence Growth by Applying an Organizational Life Cycle Perspective on Church Development: A Literature Study. Scandinavian Journal for Leadership and Theology, 7.


Birth, growth, and decline processes in organizations have been studied in the leadership literature for many years. An important perspective applied in this research has been the life cycle perspective. In the church growth literature, traces of the same research can be seen in some growth barriers studies. Using research within the church conducted in different kinds of organizations is not trivial. In this article, I apply a narrative synthesis approach to review the literature and discuss factors that influence growth processes, the strictness of the life cycles, challenges in the transitions between phases, and how these challenging transitions can be addressed for growth to continue in local churches. I argue that the life cycle perspective is relevant in a church context. I propose that many of the same challenges that other organizations meet also have to be handled in churches to prevent growth from slowing down or stop. I also suggest several organizational means to increase churches’ chance to pass challenging transitions and maintain further growth.


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