How much will you let your church grow?

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Gina B, Dec 25, 2002.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    Do you think there is a limit on how many members you'd like to have in your church? Is there a point when you believe you wouldn't be able to pastor that large of a group? What would/do you do? Start sister churches in the area? Or have other people fill in as part-time pastors?
    Gina
     
  2. Gayla

    Gayla
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    Very interesting question, gina, but wouldn't that be for God to determine?
    Looking forward to your answers, gentlemen. [​IMG]
     
  3. SaggyWoman

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    When do you decide there is enough in the kingdom of God?
     
  4. Gina B

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    I didn't say limit the number of people you want to reach, I think the pastors I asked will understand the question. [​IMG] I'm talking about a pastor's ability to pastor and when it quits being pride in numbers and time to start planting new churches to ensure that the members can still have their needs met, etc..
    Gina
     
  5. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I think it depends on the man and the church. Most people suggest you should add an assistant pastor for every 150 people and you should add to grow. For instance at 150 you add a second man; at 300 a third man, etc. Of course, it depends on ministry structure and personal abilities.

    Location can be a factor as well. This would be a tough question to answer across the board. I think it would depend on a number of locally specific factors. As for me, because of our location, I can't see starting another church in the area. There are already several churches of like faith and practice nearby. There is no need to start another. Therefore, I would have no limit on it. Grow to whatever.

    However, if I were in a large metro area (as I am) that did not have other good churches (which I am not), I would be inclined to plant a daughter church in another part of the city and send the people who live in that area to go and form the core group to start a good church there. I would not do it where there are already other good churches. That ego thing works both ways. Some people like to brag about how many churches they have started when in reality they didn't need to start any.

    It just depends ...
     
  6. Pastor Bob

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    Crysophus(sp?) or Cal or Gina,
    I think it depends on the area a church is located. I know that I am limited because of the availability of population to assist in the ministries. We live in a sparse area and therefore are somewhat of a small country church (although I hestitate to use that term.) I am also limited because this area is very liberal (and I *DO mean liberal.) The people in this area are so oriented to churches being social clubs that it has been a struggle (for 10 years now) to get them to go beyond being more than that. They will pack the place out for a peach festival....but try to get 'em to canvass the area (which I know is not a very easy thing to do) and you will get maybe 2 people if you are lucky. I have pounded my head against the wall trying to find a way to change that. All I know is the Lord is control and all he wants from me is to patiently keep trying. I am simply a missionary in a liberal land. It may take years and years, similar to new tribes. etc that spend decades in one tribe to teach them *THE* Gospel.

    On the other hand, a church in the bible belt (where I came from for the previous 20 years before returning to Pennsylvania) in a high population area has a tremendous chance of growing because there is oppotunity for more people to assist the pastor in the many ministries.

    -Pastor Bob
    Jeremiah 33:3
     
  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    In my study and experience in this area, I've found that the growth of a church is limited by the ability of the church to assimilate new members into areas of ministry and the ability off the church to care for its members.

    If folks are feeling either under or over utilized, they will sooner or later begin looking at the back door. Likewise, if folks begin to recognize that no one really cares for them (outside of the committee nominating period, the January stewardship sermon series, or during the capital campaign), they will, sooner or later, be looking to move on or drop out.

    Think about the maximum number of friends with which you can maintain intimate relationships. I have hundreds of acquaintances and friends (I am still smarting over the postage bill for all of those Christmas cards this year [​IMG] but I am able to maintian intimate ties to only about 7-10 at a time (I am a layman, work 45-60 hours per week, travel frequently for business, have a family with two children, etc...).

    It would seem prudent, then, to make sure that each member of one's church is a member of a group of 7-10 persons. As new members are added, groups increase and divide.

    Two cool things happen when this is done: members are cared for, and lay leaders emerge (some even enter occupational ministry).

    Not a bad plan for growth.
     
  8. jonmagee

    jonmagee
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    When a church is in excess of 200 people I wander how much we can talk about "church fellowship" as opposed to "pew fellowship" by those who sit in the same part of the church each week.

    The division at this point can be a positive thing as one discovers a new area to reach out and establish a witness for the Lord.

    yours, Jon.
     
  9. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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    A church in Montgomery, AL, where my ex-girlfriend attended decided that once they had 700 members, they would start another church.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    It is all about small groups.
     
  11. blackbird

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    Sister Gina,

    The Southern Baptist church I pastor runs around 150-160 in morning worship. I am on a personal basis with about 75 of um--thats all that the average person's Circle of Friends will allow--

    I think I do a fairly good job relating to the 150 or so who are faithful attenders--but if it goes very much beyond that number--I will need an "Associate" in which I don't have right now. The difficult thing is--some of my members do not see the "need" to have any sort of other minister--difficult job for me in the future---pray for me, Sister! I know you will!

    Your Southern Baptist buddy,
    Blackbird
     
  12. rufus

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    Gina, in the rural, deltal lands of Arkansas we don't have any illusions about being the largest church around, but we do seek to win everyone we can.

    I personally like a church with 150 to 250 people. Get much larger than that and I feel "pressured." Probably my disposition.

    I would like to see missions come out of our church here in the delta, but the truth is, you can find a Baptist Church at the end of every "turn row." [​IMG]

    rufus [​IMG]
     
  13. blackbird

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    True, Rufus!

    The next SBC church to us is four miles over and another one five miles over---

    Blackbird
     
  14. Rev. G

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    At 400 a diligent pastor can still know all the people (although "regular" pastoral visitation will be at a bare minimum to say the least). Past that point, though, I think a church should at least consider investing extra work in church planting (above and beyond what they are already doing).
     
  15. Gina B

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    Blackbird, for sure you have my family praying for you.
    Our church is somewhat bigger than yours, and I absolutely cannot imagine the poor pastor without his associate. That would be nuts! At your size I'd say it's pushing the limits of your capabilities not to have someone else.
    So what you do is get up there and preach on it. Talk about how the church functions as one unit, and one part has to rely on another for help or it'll wither off and DIE! They'll be begging to help you if you do it just right! :eek: [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    I would think that by this time, the pastor should have trained enough people to take care of the visitation needs so that he can concentrate on other things. I think one of the great limiting factors in church growth is a pastor that has to do everything and who allows his people to think this way. In the body of Christ, the body itself is supposed to be doing the ministering. Hopefully, we are getting to a place where this is starting to take place. I know in my church, the ladies are calling the other ladies almost weekly, either personal visit or phone call. The men keep contact in "men's kinds of ways." So everyone in the church is contacted at least one a month and I probably only make 1 or 2 calls that I initiate on "old timers." I call on the the new people, but even there we are putting a system in place for the members to call on them. My desire is to diversify and spread out the ministry to get every involved (as someone above mentioned) so that the church can grow without my direct involvment in many of these things. As pastor, I think I need to be the "big picture guy" who can keep things in perspective and rightly related to each other. I think this issue of pastoral leadership is often overlooked. A church will grow only as big as its pastor is willing to let it ... in terms of how much control/involvement he has to have.
     
  17. wingtrap

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    Jonathan,
    That is exactly the plan our church is using with the leadership of our new pastor.3 new adult sunday school classes stressing small room and inductive bible study.I,a deacon, even got the chance to preach a while back,the first time a deacon has preached in our church in about 15 or 20 years,with the exeption of the youth leader.

    Our pastor stresses more people teaching and outreach and fellowship,and we have quite a few new families over last couple years to go along with it
     

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