Saturday, October 10, 2015

Growing Church

We just recently had our annual church conference, and one of the things we talked about was church growth.

We are at a weekly attendance level of approximately 125, and our District Superintendent shared that that's one of those plateau levels, considered a "barrier" level. It's very difficult to move from 125 to higher attendance.

There's a book by Gary L. McIntosh, Taking Your Church to the Next Level: What Got You Here Won't Get You There. The author, president of the Church Growth Network and professor of Christian ministry and leadership at Talbot School of Theology, makes some suggestions to help breach the 125 barrier.
  • Start a Second Worship Service
  • Add Staff
  • Add Classes
  • Expand Facilities
  • Continually Increase Programming
  • Pastor Becomes Administrator rather than Shepherd
  • Delegate Ministry
  • Mobilize Lay People 
  • Streamline the Decision-Making Process
We've already started a second worship service, but some of the other suggestions raise questions, at least in my mind.

Do we want a pastor who's an administrator rather than a shepherd? Who will shepherd our flock?

What do you think?


  1. There is no doubt that leadership styles and what is expected of the leader must shift in order for churches to shift to different capacities. A family church is different than a community church/programmatic church, etc. and requires different leadership structure. All changes involve a bit of fear, and I think one valid fear is that if the pastor becomes less of a shepherd/chaplain and more of an administrator/leader the question as to how shepherding will occur is important. In fact, the question reveals the experience of care-giving as pastor-centric (this is fascinating because in our church there is already a good deal of lay-driven care-giving). The important thing to consider while having this conversation is not that in a new model care-giving would go away, or that the pastor would cease to ever behave in a shepherding role, rather it is a matter of from where and by what process do we ensure that care-giving remains effective as a church grows and changes. One reason for the growth barriers is that pastor-centric care-giving becomes ineffective beyond a certain point, people and people experience and respond to that ineffectiveness. The transition points are challenges because perhaps at 200 people or so, a second pastoral staff person who takes over some of the care-giving ministries is a more realistic financial possibility, but getting there could require prior adjustments.

  2. Thanks for expanding on that, Eric.

  3. Thanks for expanding on that, Eric.