Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Church size - moving through the 200 barrier

Approaching the 200 barrier, a church that truly wants to make room for more people is likely to have to engage seriously with the following:

- Multiplication options. There has to be a willingness to accept that it is no longer possible for everyone to have a face-to-face relationship with everyone else. This requires a major change in attitude within the church or newcomers will pick up that established members feel that the church is becoming too big and impersonal. Often the way to deal with this is to provide multiplication options such as an additional Sunday meeting and/or an active small group ministry. Experience generally shows that such moves provide a growth spurt – as Keller records, ‘when you give more options, people opt!’

- A willingness to meet the cost of an additional primary ministry staffer. It should be a given that one full-time minister cannot personally shepherd more than 150-200 people. Specialists, such as youth workers, administrators and musicians can help with the span of pastoral care – the actual profile of this will vary with the local culture. Often a middle class environment will require such specialists earlier on in the process. The time will come when it will be necessary to employ a second full-time staff worker – such an appointment should be made for growth – and in essence that person must be able to aid growth and generate the giving to cover his/her salary. For this reason the second staffer is often an evangelist, unless one of the primary gifts of the senior leader is evangelism, in which case a pastoral gift would complement the situation and work on internal growth. At this stage the church can be big enough to give the senior leader a feeling of increasing burn-out but has not yet got to the point where it can/will pay for that second worker.