The "Magic Number"??

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ktn4eg, May 19, 2012.

  1. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    Recently I over heard someone say that no church should have over 300 members. When I asked him why, he referred me to Judges 7 where God told Gideon that he had way too many people in his army, and that only when God whittled it down to 300 was he told to go on to fight the Midianites.

    When I asked him "What about the church at Jerusalem? They certainly had more than 300 members." His reply was that was why God sent persecution to them--because they disobeyed His command to scatter into all Judea, and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world.

    What do think about his contention that no church should have more than 300 members? Is 300 some kind of magic number? Should a church consider making a "new plant" once she reaches 300 members?

    Your reactions/opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. HankD

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    IMO, this is a good example of eisegesis.

    Can it be proven by exegesis from any NT text that 300 is the "magic number" of members of a local church?


    HankD
     
    #2 HankD, May 19, 2012
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  3. Scarlett O.

    Scarlett O.
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    There is a reason why God only allowed 300 men to assist Gideon in the fight against the Midianites. And it had nothing to do with volume or capacity. It had to do with their wicked hearts. God knew that if He allowed the excessively large number to defeat the Midianites that they would claim the victory for themselves and claim that they had accomplished something great – not God.

    Judges 7 – “Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him rose early and encamped beside the well of Harod, so that the camp of the Midianites was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. And the Lord said to Gideon, ‘The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once from Mount Gilead.' And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.”

    Consider these verses where God warns against this notion of trusting in yourself.






    • Psalm 20:7 = “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”

    • [*]Zechariah 4:6 = “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”


      [*]Psalm 62:7 = “My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.”


      [*]Deuteronomy 17:16 = “The king must never own a large number of horses or make the people return to Egypt to get more horses. The LORD has told you, "You will never go back there again."


      [*]1 Kings 10:26 and 28 = “Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. ……Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue--the royal merchants purchased them from Kue.”

      [*]Psalm 33:17 = "A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength - it cannot save."



      [*]
      Psalm 21:31 = "A horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD."
      [*]Isaiah 31:1 = “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.”
    This account of Gideon has to do with people relying and trusting on their own resources, talents, abilities, hoarded defenses, and denying the power of God.

    There are multitudes of churches with FAR LESS than 300 people that are dead and useless churches because they do this very thing. They boast in their own efforts and not in the Lord. They haven’t baptized anyone in years. Some of these dead and dying churches even boast in having only a few members. Boasting in your small size - as if you are somehow more blessed and used by God - is just as wicked as boasting your your might.


    This person who told you that 300 was the magic cut-off number of a church is someone that you need to flee from - spiritually speaking. I would be in dread to know what other falsehoods they teach.
     
    #3 Scarlett O., May 19, 2012
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  4. HeirofSalvation

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    Whoever stated this as a dogma is decidedly taking what might be good advice or even a generally respectable guideline and making a hard and fast rule about it. That being said, generally, I tend to agree that more than 300 members or so is somewhat unmanageable...which is to say, the sum total of all of the things that should be being accomplished is probably not being accomplished. The Early Church at Jerusalem grew by 3,000 in one DAY!!!

    I feel there is a place (in some instances) for a "mega-church" or a really large one because of the resources it can dedicate to any single task. So I see a place for them...But my general feeling is that most churches should start thinking about a plant once you get beyond 300ish. That is the plan at our chuch.

    It is no hard-fast rule though.
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    The question of growth or split is a great one. As a church grows, two models emerge, to build a bigger facility or to spin off a church plant. Now if the Pastor is attractive, i.e. folks go to listen to the Pastor rather than grow and serve, I think they will say we need to enlarge our church so the leadership team can reach full potential. On the other hand, following the NT model, the "mother" church will spin off church plants and grow via that model.

    I do not think scripture teaches a specific size, but once the existing facilities are being fully utilized, whether at 300, 600, or even 900 weekend attenders, it is sort of late in the day for the members to capture the vision of church plant.

    One more thing to think about, did the church grow by attracting folks from other churches, or by impacting the lost? A healthy church, i.e. suitable to become a mother church, will have a significant fraction of members brought to the Lord by the ministry of that church. Just saying....
     
    #5 Van, May 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2012
  6. Iconoclast

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    :thumbsup: Good thoughts Scarlett O:thumbsup:
     
  7. Scarlett O.

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    Thank you - I hope I didn't give the impression that I was in favor of large numbers because I am not in favor of mega-churches - but that is merely my own preference, not anything based on scripture.

    I'm from a very rural area and I've seen so many small churches with what I call "small church syndrome". They don't want anyone in their churches who aren't "home-grown" - and I'm not making up that term, I've heard it used repeatedly. They rely soley on their own home-made and legalistic worldviews to justify themselves and their communities around them are going to hell.

    With that being said, there are some small churches in my area that are thriving. One church in particular has only about 40 active members and they are experiencing a revival like you wouldn't believe. In fact, my pastor sent two men to visit their church a couple of months ago to observe firsthand and to report back to the church the exciting first hand account of how God is moving in that church.

    My own church runs about 150 and I can tell you - we have gone through revivals and through dry spells and the victories we've experienced have never been for any other reason than God working through us. And the times that we've experienced spiritual drought has always been our own fault.
     
  8. Iconoclast

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    The 300 did not put down their swords...they lapped the water with their free hand...they were ready to serve and battle.....that is who we need...home grown, or from outside in:thumbsup:
     

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