This is an overview of the characteristics of growing churches in Estonia. The study is grounded in semi-structured interviews conducted in 2019-2020 in nine Protestant congregations that have grown in 2003-2017. There were three to four interviewees from each congregation, a total of 14 being women and 18 men. The transcripts of the interviews were analyzed by combining both the open and the invivo coding model. No prescribed categories were used in the analysis. The results were formulated as characteristics of growing churches: spiritual life; inner climate; human focus; the minister of the church; relationships outside the church; and a collective self-image. The following conclusions may be drawn from the study. First, the main agent of a growing congregation is its minister, whose influence determines both the climate inside and the activities outside the congregation. Second, mission in the growing churches is done through need-based ministry, relationships and practical contribution to society. Third, it may be stated that growth is not the result of setting and pursuing goals for growth but above all that of loving, focusing on the needs of and serving people.
Lilleorg, Ago; Soom, Kaido; and Lehtsaar, Tõnu
"Characteristics of Growing Churches in Estonia: A Qualitative Study,"
Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe: Vol. 41
, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/ree/vol41/iss5/2