To build or not to build

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    I was asked to start a new thread. (post #23)

    So, when a church reaches 400 average weekly attendance and their bld only seats 450, should they build a new building or start a new church two?

    I know it is up to each individual church to make their own decision - but what should they take into account as to come up with the best decision?

    Salty
     
  2. annsni

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    Honestly, I've seen churches build and fall and churches multiply and fall. But then I've seen churches build or multiply and thrive.

    I'd ask the congregation to pray. Commit to praying for a period of time for wisdom and guidance from God. Obviously if they don't have the property to expand, they'd have to go elsewhere but who knows what God wants from them??
     
  3. Old Union Brother

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    Very good advice. I have some thoughts I supply later....
     
  4. JohnDeereFan

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    This is something that I've been wondering about, especially as our church continues to grow.

    We're up to just under 300 people now and because of our location, we have people coming from an hour away.

    On the one hand, I'm very happy that they see something in our church that makes it worth such a long drive, but on the other, I'm concerned that because they're so far away, we can't meet their needs and they can't be properly "plugged in", as the kids say, to use their gifts for the ministry and edification of the church.

    I'm also concerned that we might be robbing a local church closer to their home of good members and good resources for the Gospel.

    I've often thought about sitting down with some of them and encouraging them to join with some of our sister churches closer to their homes, but I've always chickened out because I don't know how to do it without making it sound like we're kicking them out.

    I have a map in my office with little pins to represent where everybody lives and I can see us planting two churches in the future, just from the people we have now.
     
  5. menageriekeeper

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    I suppose at least part of the discussion needs to concern whether or not the area the church is located needs another church of the same denomination. Around here, we have at least a dozen Baptist churches of all flavors. I can't say that we need another. For us, it seems a better use of our resources to stay in one building as one congregation.

    However, I have family and friends who live in areas where there isn't a church on every corner and would love to have a congregation of like mind closer to where they live.
     
  6. Steven2006

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    If I were attending a church where I felt God has led my family to, I think I would find it very discouraging and disheartening if the Pastor suggested we leave.

    I think you are wise to have shown patience before doing so.
     
  7. drfuss

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    Over the years I have observed a number of churches that grew to about 300 in average attendance and then starts to have problems within the church. I concluded that a part of the problem is that a church over about 300 cannot continue as a single homogenious group with one pastor being the leader.

    In churches under about 300, the people are usually small church people needing some personal attention from the pastor each week (if only a handshake and small talk). They expect daily personal attention from the pastor when they are sick or have a special need. In larger churches, the pastor simply does not have the time.

    Above 300 with only one leader, an "in group" develops because one pastor cannot personally be the leader of the larger (over 300) group. Those not in the "in group" become unhappy and then little things about the way the church is run, starts to bother them leading to divisions within the church; soon the church gets smaller.

    A church over 300 needs more than one pastor type leader. Many churches cannot grow larger because the pastor does not want another pastor to have a share of his ministry. This may be due to the pastor's concept of how a church should be or due to his insecurity.

    Some churches that grow larger usually have a pastor that encourages another pastor to have a part of the normal single pastor ministry, including the leadership of some groups within the church that the single pastor would normally exercise.
     
  8. annsni

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    I agree with you Drfuss. Our pastor said that he feels one pastor per 100 people is a good ratio and we've found that to be very true. :)
     
  9. Salty

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    :thumbs: :type: :praying:
     
  10. glfredrick

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    There are tiers of members that lead to distinct problems and/or barriers. It would seem that you are at one of those tiers.

    The general rule of thumb for church consulting is that anything past 80% of capacity will be maxed out, and though some churches can go above that number for a time, eventually it will level down to that number and sort of stay there.

    The question then is how to gain seats? Building is a good option, but pricey and it is always difficult to answer the question about why spending that sort of money for a building that is largely only occupied for several hours a week is important. Some prefer to go to two services, but that has its own issues, such as loosing the feeling of one big congregation.

    Most larger churches have gone to multiple services, and that is the most cost-effective way to deal with a growing congregation.

    Our own church has 4 services every Sunday on the main campus, and we have 2 satellite campuses that each hold a service (though one of those is also ready to move to two services).

    Each service ends up having its own vibe, even if the same musicians and the same sermon is preached all over. Just the nature of the people who chose to attend this or that service. Our 9 am is an older crowd (ave. age 50 or so), and is a laid back service, without a lot of interaction between congregation members and/or with pastoral staff. The 7 pm service, on the other hand, is our youngest service (ave. age under 25) and it is rowdy (in a good way!). People are hugging, they'll talk back to the pastor (same pastor), they'll dance in the isles during worship time, are not afraid of demonstrative worship, etc. Our East End campus has a more professional congregation, and there are more ties and button down shirts, a more polished service, etc. Every service meets the needs of the people who attend and they give it their own character.

    I've just said this so that you know that things can and will change if you move to multiple services, and the staff will have to work hard on Sundays! But it is doable and probably the best way to proceed.

    I've not seen such good experiences with churches that deliberately host a totally different type of service for different crowds. That is intentionally dividing the church and asking for problems down the road as there becomes a this or that faction built into the fabric of the church. One of the good things about the way we approach this Issie is that no matter which service one attends, they get the same church.
     
  11. Salty

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    So in essence you have 4 separate churches. How do you do church business meetings for example?

    Is there just one Wed mid week service?
    Are offerings kept separate or just lumped together?
     
  12. glfredrick

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    We are one church in multiple locations. When we find that we have 100+ persons in some area who are willing to hive off and start a new work, we make that happen. But we are all on the same page as far as preaching, music, etc. Each campus has a campus pastor, and overall, we have about 24 pastors currently part of our church. Each has a different responsibility, and there are several preaching pastors who make the rounds and/or preach multiple services each Sunday.

    We have just one or two business meetings a year - to approve the budget and to give praise for what God has done through us and our leaders during the past year. We may have additional called meetings to deal with church business as needed, for instance, church discipline, the buying or selling of major church property, etc. Last year we ended up with 3 total meetings of the entire church. We pick the largest venue and have the meeting there -- people stand, etc., as need be in order to participate. Our meetings are very unlike the typical church business meeting. It is mostly praise reports and a vote on the one thing we need to address. Otherwise the pastoral and elder staff lead the church. They are doing a fantastic job!

    We do not have mid-week services, but virtually all of our members meet in homes at least once per week for additional service, education, ministry, and fellowship. My wife and I are part of the community group process, and have between 12 and 20 people in our home every week. We also mentor a number of other young and not-so-young men (and women, my wife is involved as well), plus we do marriage counseling of various types. Though we are not considered "pastors" of this church, our ministry is very pastoral, and we are well guided through a network of leaders with area leaders, regional leaders, and elders/pastors over all.

    Offerings are lumped together and spent as needed, both to further the campuses and to start new, give to missions, etc. In December, for instance, in addition to our "tithe" of general offerings for missions all year long, we give 25% of all offerings in the month of December to mission work.

    Our annual budget is in the $2.7 million range. We generally meet budget and in the past 3 years have increased the budget 12%, 25%, and 18%. That is a huge increase. Additionally, church members have bought and paid for new buildings from their own incomes, including a grant for $300,000 to start a new campus across the river in New Albany and close to half a million to pay for an existing Catholic cathedral around the corner from our main campus (that should hold close to a thousand worshipers at one time after renovation).

    Not too bad for a congregation that is mostly under age 30, in a church that is just now 10 years old. a radical new look at doing the business of the church to be sure, but not apart from the Word.
     
  13. annsni

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    That's awesome and it's sounding like what we are heading for. My husband is the campus pastor of our first new church campus and right after we signed the contract to meet in the hotel, we were GIVEN a Baptist church in another town so now that will be another church campus with another campus pastor. It's pretty neat to work this way and while it's all new for us, we know others have gone before us and it's worked well so we're confident that God is taking us someplace good. Thanks for your testimony of how God is working in your church!
     
  14. glfredrick

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    I've been following your church growth from posts you make on the board. I'm always encouraged to hear how you and your husband are leading so well! Keep up the good work!

    FWIW, our church will be rolling out a new network of like-minded churches in the new year. We've brought on staff that can lead on a national level and we are getting involved in helping other churches/starting new congregations, etc. We're also part of the Acts 29 network, and are doing a lot of other things, mission related, including supporting church plants in multiple cities in the USA and abroad. We are also an SBC church, but give wisely instead of just shotgunning our funds out there and hoping for the best. There is a mechanism to give to individual funds, and we make use of that mechanism.

    That, in large part is how we are working. The more we do well, the more we're given to do well. We too were given a campus this year (our 3rd). It was valued at over $1.5 million. Sadly, the original congregation was down to 25 people and were about to close the doors. They voted and decided to deed over the entire property to Sojourn. We closed the doors for several weeks, did some repair work, then re-launched with 250 in attendance! The congregation is now over 500 and ready to go to two services! That, in just 4 months!
     
  15. annsni

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    That's amazing. This new/old church building we were given needs a TON of repairs and we've been working diligently to get them done but we're doing it with mostly volunteers (using paid contractors only where absolutely necessary for being legal like pulling up all the asbestos floor tile in the fellowship hall) so it's taking a long time. But we're blessed that even the meter maid (there is no parking lot, only village street parking) now knows the staff's cars and doesn't mark them to give tickets AND she came to our preview service! LOL They hope to start the actual services in late January, early February but they need to get the bulk of the work finished first.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    Would it be fair to say, using different terms, that what your church has done is actually plant new churches in two other locations? I recognize that they are not independent of the "mother church," but they seem to be taking on an identity of their own.

    Is it possible that the satellite campuses may become self-sufficient down the road?
     
  17. Salty

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    Or:

    Should the satellite campuses become self-sufficient and autonomous down the road?
     
  18. Tom Butler

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    That's a valid question, and I don't think there's a pat answer.

    It's obvious that churches which have satellite campuses can operate efficiently. But in actuality, those satellite campuses seem to be operating as separate congregations in many ways. For instance, Annsi's husband is a campus pastor.

    Ann, I'd be interested in hearing more about how your campus operates in relationship to the main church. Does your congregation have any independence, can it make unilateral decisions, how do you handle the Lord's Supper, baptisms, How much fellowship does your campus have with the others? Is it a problem? Are there members who have never met your lead pastor?

    And glfredrick, how does your congregation deal with the questions I have raised.

    And I'm really curious as to why the mindset is to create new satellite campuses instead of creating new self-sustaining churches.

    As for me, I think my own small congregation would love to have to deal with the challenges of growth.
     
  19. glfredrick

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    That would be the plan... But we are also launching a new network (or association) in January for this ever expanding congregation, which is branching out all over the nation and world. We do this while dually cooperating with the SBC and Acts 29.

    We see, in the Scriptures, a picture of the church that is more connected than most congregations these days. We are moving in that scriptural direction -- one church, multiple elders, multiple locations. We're not alone in this effort, it is perhaps the fastest growing area of new church growth around the world. The days when any individual church could be an island unto itself are probably over (and have probably been over for decades, if not forever).

    This is not to say that we are "perfect" or have the "only solution" and/or are the exclusive means by which God can plant and grow His church. It is just the way we are proceeding. Hopefully the nuances of that position will be seen by those who might not so much like the way we are proceeding. An infinite God may have multiple ways that He extends His kingdom across the peoples of the world. Ours is but one of those ways.
     
  20. annsni

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    Well, realize we're only 4 months old so we're still babes in this endeavor. However, we only have limited independence and we are still under the leadership of the full pastoral staff at our church. Our senior pastor has the right to override any decision we've made although he's not done so as of yet. My husband meets with the other pastors once a week and discusses what's going on with the church, any issues we have, any things for the future that might need to be discussed. It helps to have some other's input so that we know that it's not just a one-man show.

    As for the Lord's Supper, we've done it twice and we do it the same as at the home church - any believer in the Lord Jesus Christ can participate in the Lord's Supper but we have decided to not add in "baptism" because we just don't find Biblical support for restricting it to only baptized believers. We have not yet had a baptism but we need to deal with that soon because we now have 3 new believers and we want them to be baptized and they do as well. That's something for the pastors to speak about at the next meeting. We CAN do it at Northport but we're thinking of speaking to the hotel across the highway that has a pool and seeing if we can use their facilities for it. We'll see.

    Our new campus has a lot of fellowship with the home church - especially right now. We had a Thanksgiving Eve service and a Christmas Eve service at the home church for everyone and it was wonderful. The new people were able to meet the full church staff and congregation as well as see what "mom and dad" look like. LOL We have had 2 of the pastors from home come to preach and when my husband is not leading worship but instead preaching, we've had our home church supply worship teams as well. Next week we will be having a third pastor come out to preach and we're excited to hear what he has to say. We also do not have classes, youth group, kids' programs or anything - they would need to go to the home church to do any of those. Also, much of our church is still our church plant team and all of those people are already well plugged into the home church and are families that have been there for many years. We hope to foster relationships between the new people and the home church as well.

    Well, it's a practical reason. We have a church staff of 45 people at home and we have tons of resources that would be silly to reproduce in another church at this time. Secretarial staff, accounting, counseling, etc. all are handled back at the home church. It creates a new church with a lot of "rocket fuel" behind it to be able to get off the ground and we've found it to be super helpful. I was speaking to a couple who have planted 4 churches now and I asked them to tell me some of the things that they have learned over the years. Every single thing that they recommended was already covered because of being a campus as opposed to being an independent church. So we really think this was the right move in our situation.
     

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