Friday, 31 October 2008

Multiple meetings 3

Further principles to be taken into consideration:

We found that it is easier to go to two morning meetings than straight to an evening meeting – this helps particularly when it comes to volunteers. (This may differ in university towns and cities.) The length of our meetings is 1 hour and 30 minutes, with a 30 minute ‘turn-round’ between the two morning meetings (9.30 and 11.30am). Our third meeting is at 5.30pm – the time of the start of meetings has a greater effect than one might realise.

More preparation needs to be given to Sunday planning during the week. On the Sunday the pastoring of the meeting is extremely important - you have to start and finish on time, notices should be brief, preachers must be disciplined and ministry times included in the 90mins where appropriate. The loss of the luxury of flexibility to run over time is weighed against the benefit of reaching more people for Jesus.

We preach the same message at each meeting, and we launched our second and third meetings at key growth points in the year – for us, September and January. We have added the extra meetings in September and profile these changes with massive leaflet drops, advertising our Sundays and encouraging everyone to invite people along. Our third meeting commenced at the end of a week of mission thus encouraging the church into greater involvement in this major development.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Multiple meetings 2

Following on from last time - here are some further key numerical principles that have helped us make the decision to go to multiple meetings:

1. We have always worked on the principle that when our auditorium is 80% full – that’s people sitting down during the preaching – we are full.

2. It’s important to work these figures out on your high attendance Sundays - if you are hitting 80% on your ‘high’ Sundays it’s time to extend your building, move to another venue, or go to a second meeting.

3. As we moved towards two meetings, we worked on the principle that we didn’t want a divide or split of more than 60/40 - in other words we didn’t want 300 at the first meeting and 100 at the second. We worked very hard on retaining the integrity of this principle, including changing the time of one meeting at an early stage to move people forward and asking a particular ministry group to move to the other service.

4. Ideally, you never want to be under 50% full in your auditorium’s capacity i.e. 100 people in a 300-seater venue can rattle somewhat!

5. Also ideally, attendance should be no less than 170 – 180 in the smaller of the meetings in order to maintain critical mass (based on a Sunday attendance of 400 or more). This is particularly important in a church context that places a high value on corporate worship. If you have been used to a celebration of 400 then the worship experience with a group of less than 170 feels very different.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Welcome to another new venture!

I have been called many things over the years that I have served in the church, however I have realised that when all is said and done, I am a leader! In the light of that and with the encouragement of a number of friends and colleagues, I decided to launch this separate Leadership blog. The King’s blog is where I can give the church access to my world. My plan is that the Leadership blog will be a place where I can make available some of the leadership lessons and insights that I have learned and am learning, with the aim of encouraging many to lead well!

Following a short but successful time of leadership in business I have now been involved in full time Christian leadership for 18 years, leading Kings church for the last 13 years. During that time the church Sunday attendance has grown from 200 to what is now regularly over 1000.

How to accommodate a growing congregation on a site that cannot be extended, either in its footprint or height, has been one of the major current issues for us at King’s Church. This blog will start a short series dealing with how we have dealt with this issue.

The Move to Multiple Meetings – Part 1

Just to give you a historical context, following the extension of our building in September 04 (which seats around 500) we grew rapidly so that we had to launch a second morning meeting a year later in September 05. Three years later, growth has continued so we needed to establish a third meeting (early Sunday evening) which happened in September 08. Steve Nicholson, a friend from the Vineyard movement, has been a valuable help in this – Steve is based in Chicago and much of what follows is drawn from his experience.

I have drawn together some key principles that have helped us make decisions and establish multiple meetings with at least a measure of success:

Guiding principle 1: It’s highly ideal that you do this in a context of some momentum and growth. If your church has not grown for the last ten years, it is unlikely that dividing what you already have into two will help you! Going to a second meeting should not be a decision taken lightly – for us it was as important a strategic directional call as our £2 million building project a number of years before.

Guiding principle 2: You do want to do it with a sense of God speaking so that you can move ahead with a sense of faith and anticipation that God will help you with the challenges that lie ahead.

Guiding principle 3: The move to multiple meetings reflects the missional motivation which is at the heart of the church’s life. Making room for more people to hear the gospel is what it’s about!