When it comes to numbers, churches tend to err in one of two ways: they either discount them as unimportant or they put too much emphasis on them.
1. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND AND KNOW HOW LARGE YOU WANT TO BE.
The following is a rough breakdown of reported (which may not be entirely accurate) church attendance. Admittedly, these numbers are a few years old, but, as a general rule, they do give you a rough idea of church-size barriers.
- Churches with 45 people or fewer = 100,000 churches or 25% of all churches
- Churches with 75 people or fewer = 200,000 churches or 50% of all churches
- Churches with 150 people or fewer = 300,000 churches or 75% of all churches
- Churches with 350 people or fewer = 380,000 churches or 95% of all churches
- Churches with 800 people or fewer = 392,000 churches or 98% of all churches
- Churches with 800 people or more = 8,000 churches or 2% of all churches
- Churches with 2,000 people or more = 870 churches or 0.22% of all churches
- Churches with 3,000 people or more = 425 churches or 0.11% of all churches
Lyle Schaller, considered one of the best church consultants in the world, states in his book, The Very Large Church, that the two most comfortable church sizes are under 45 people and under 150 people, likely making them two of the hardest thresholds to pass through, in addition to the 800 mark.
2. THE LARGER THE CHURCH, THE MORE DIFFERENT IT IS FROM OTHER CHURCHES OF THE SAME THEOLOGY AND TRADITION.
3. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE.
4. DON’T ASSIGN MORAL JUDGMENTS TO SIZE AND CHANGE.
5. IF YOU WANT TO GROW, YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR COMMON CHANGES NOW.
6. BE HUMBLE AS A LEADER TO SEEK THE COUNSEL OF PASTORS AHEAD OF YOU AND RECEIVE THEIR COUNSEL.
7. DISCERN BETWEEN GUILT AND CONVICTION IN SEASONS OF TRANSITION.
8. PRAY AND PLAN FOR PEOPLE TO MEET JESUS.
Decentralized Preaching 21 May 2012 by Al Barth
In North America, we have an unhealthy fascination with celebrity preachers. Building a church (or a movement) around a celebrity pastor/preacher has inherent dangers and gives rise to certain problems. Let me list a few:
1. Celebrity pastors/preachers de facto become unaccountable even if they voluntarily submit themselves to a group of brothers. In the worst cases they become uncontrollable.
2. A steady diet of one man’s preaching, one man’s perspectives on and means of approaching and applying the text, even if it is excellent, is unhealthy. Eating steak at every meal may sound good at first. But after just a few days of beef at every turn, you start to feel sick (that’s right vegans!).
3. Reliance upon one preacher, even in the best cases, inevitably tends to promote the man rather than the message. Oddly, the Word itself can become less the focus than the one doing the exposition of the Word or the particular way the Word is exposited.