We all know an ‘intimate dinner’ of three or four couples has a different function and planning level than a party to which you invite seventy or eighty. We also know that a Morris Mini has a different engine and transmission than does a delivery truck. In the same manner, we have different equipment to fish for bluegill off the pier than we would if we fished for tuna in the ocean. Yet sometimes we act in churches as if supporting structures in the church are the same for an eighty-member congregation as for a five thousand-member congregation, just bigger.
One of the pieces of wisdom shared in church growth circles is that if you combine a couple of two hundred-member churches, you will get one two hundred member church—because they know how to be a two hundred-member church! What that statement tries to highlight is that different sizes of congregations need different structures to support their size. When internal structures do not match the size of a church two things can happen; either growth is inhibited or internal discomfort and conflict arises. Continue reading