When is a church too

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    When is a church too big?
    When is a chruch too small?

    Too big:
    I have always said if a pastor cannont vist each member of his church at least once a year - in their home, the church is too big. I would say that once a church is about about 300 people ( 40 families X 5 + 100 children/singles), its time to start mission churches
    Too Small:
    This might be a bit more difficult. If a church is running less than 15, should it consider merging with another church? If two or three small churches decide to merge, hwat should make or break said merger: minor doctrine, which pastor becomes the Senior Pastor, who becomes Deacons, teachers, ect?
    The one execption of course, would be if there are not nearby churches to merge with.
    Thoughts?
    Salty
     
  2. Deacon

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    Sounds like it's time to hire a second pastor to me.
    It cost much less than new site development.
    Too small would mean an inability to support a pastor and the necessary facilities.

    Rob
     
  3. Alex Quackenbush

    Alex Quackenbush
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    There is no such thing as a church that is too small or too big. Those who wish to learn under a certain Pastor whether 2 or 100,00 not only have that right but obligation to by faith before God and anyone judging that body, whether claiming it is too large or too small, stands in judgment of the faith of others and the Pastoral call of shepherding those given to that Pastor, a rather precarious and dangerous place for the believer.
     
  4. annsni

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    Our church has 900 people - a great size, IMO. We have enough people to do some great ministries that meet many needs (deaf, handicapped, children, youth, seniors, etc.). Two things make a larger church possible, IMO. One is multiplicity of pastors - we have one pastor for every 100 people. Yep - 9 pastors and we're adding in a pastoral intern now too. Another thing is small groups - groups that meet in the homes that are no larger than about 15 people in each one. This way, there is individual ministry to each other, people get to know each other intimately and there is better ability to keep each other accountable.

    I don't think any church - as long as it's a Bible teaching, God honoring church - is too large or too small.
     
  5. drfuss

    drfuss
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    drfuss: This is a good thread subject. Over the years, I have observed many churches that grew to over 300 in attendance and then have a problem and have members leave to bring the attendance down to less than 300.

    I think the problem was that the pastor and some laymen wanted a single group church where they knew everybody and could talk to everyone at each service. At over 400 in attendance, some members felt left out of the close fellowship and then small things started to bother them. There developed an in-group and an out-group.

    In some cases, the limit on growth was due to some members. Usaully it was due to the pastor not wanting another talented minister on staff for fear of competition. To have a successful church of over 500 in attendance, a church needs a number of talented ministers. If the pastor insists on being the central figure for all members, then he will eventually have a church of no more than about 300.

    We attend a church of about 2000 in attendance. My sister, in another part of the country, left a church because it had too many people in it. Her reason for leaving: There are people that attend that church that we don't even know or know us. She now goes to a church of about 100 in attendance and is happy.

    Different strokes for different folks.
     
  6. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    I agree with annsni.

    Too Small: Matt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    Too Large: Matt 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

    What church is the right size? Those in between two and multitudes.
     
  7. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Who says you have to have facilities or a paid pastor to have a church?
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    for what it's worth...I don't think that a church can be "too big" or "too small" those are misnomers.

    Regardless of size the pastor of a church isn't the be all end all of ministry. Baptists (particularly) have this quirky little doctrinal thing called "Priesthood of the Believer" which pretty much gives ownership of the Church to them um people of the Church. A ordained clergyman has no greater access to God than a stay at home mom in the ninth row or the retired government grandpaw in the back.

    If your church is going have "success" (whatever that means) the pastor needs to release the ministry to the people, and not worry about visiting everyone and talking to everyone. That is the insanity that keeps churches ineffective for Kingdom ministry.

    A church is never too small or too big so long as the right leadership allows the people to be the ministers they are all called to be. :)

    I appreciate the thread, because I think it will generate good convos, but the question is just wrong imho. :)
     
  9. Born_in_Crewe

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    Preachinjesus - very good post.

    It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that ministry is only the job of the pastor. Sometimes ordinary members of the church can be just as helpful as the Pastor and Elders. Particularly for younger Christians who may relate better to their fellow young people and youth leaders.

    I would say 50-150 is probably the best size. There are advantages to big churches and small churches but I imagine in a massive church it is difficult to get to know everyone.
     
  10. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    The Priesthood of the Believer has nothing to do with ownership of the church. It was set up in the OT and has to do with our responsibility toward God in worship.
     
  11. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    I agree there are advantages in every church situtation, and disadvantages too. I get to serve in a large church format and have done so since I graduated from seminary. There are indeed some awesome opportunities when you run a larger number of people and some challenges. I grew up in a smaller church, the same is true.

    For me the issue isn't how big or how small is your church...but it is how effective is your ministry being handed off to those people around us? How are you reaching, winning, and discipling people in your community?

    The idea that the senior pastor, or pastor, of a church is the be all and end all for visitation, counseling, and ministry is a wrong one and one which we must leave behind if we are to be growing vibrant churches and vibrant believers. :)
     

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