These issues are - complexity, change and formality. Largeness brings:
• Complexity in place of simplicity
• Change in place of predictability
• Need for formal rather than informal communication and decision-making
Where simplicity, predictability and informality are valued more highly than the benefits of growth, people will leave.
Another major issue is succession. The bigger the church, the more the church is identified with the senior pastor because
a) he is identifiable among a large team of staff/leader
b) churches don’t grow without a visionary leader – and one who can articulate that vision. This is the key to the whole church. Such a gift is distinctive and is irreplaceable – even more than good preaching.
So how does such a leader retire without people feeling the church has died? One plan is to divide the church and give each new site its own senior pastor. Lyle Schaller believes that such successors need to be people who have been on staff for a good while - not outsiders.
A very large church continues to grow only if the advantages given are exploited and the disadvantages above are resisted and minimised.
Small Town Jesus in the Big City
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