From time to time, I hear/read/see ministers bemoaning the level of attendance at their Church Meetings and wondering how to increase this from around 10%, usually 10% of a large number.
Having always been in smaller churches, and usually having been in those whose meetings have a regular pattern and a reaosnable sense of purpose, I have never experienced this. In "Dibley" as membership shrank in absolute terms, attendance actually increased, with people gaining a greater sense of ownership, that their voice mattered. I think the same is true at the Gathering Place - our total membership is stable, and more than double that of Dibley, and we too have good to excellent attendance at church meetings.
In some bigger churches, a cycle is perpetuated in which 10% of the people make 100% of the decisions, leaving the Trustees with limited confidence in the quality of the decisions made. In smaller churches where attendance rarely falls below 50% and can easily be more than 70% even for 'routine' matters, everyone has a greater sense that their voice matters, that their vote (when votes are used) counts, that this affects them... and the Trustees can be confident that decisions are made on a demonstrably sound basis.
We had a good little meeting today - somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes long- with some good questions asked and an important decision made. I feel very proud of my church, and very reassured as a sort-of-trustee!