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Understanding Growth
Posted on October 6, 2020 8:00 AM by Mark Snowden
Categories: Leadership
Changes in church size require adjustments for church leaders. The chairman of deacons of a once-large church in another state sought my input on his new plan. The church used to run 900+ and was now doing good to have 250 in AM Worship. His plan was very formal and freed up the pastor for vision-casting just as they had always done. Things had changed in this church, but would the chairman’s plan still be relevant in a much-smaller church?
 
Timothy Keller wrote a paper titled, “Leadership and Church Size Dynamics: How Strategy Changes Growth.” “There is a ‘size culture’ that profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and what ministers, staff, and lay leaders do,” Keller said. “A large church is not simply a bigger version of a small church.” His point was that churches have to attract and keep different types of people who take on or are given roles, largely because of their church size.
 
In reading Keller’s ideas, in short, it was obvious to me that the deacon chairman seeking my counsel was using an outdated church size paradigm. He still acted like just because the worship center could seat 1,200, that the church was still a big church. His plan literally separated his pastor from the very people he needed to touch in order to have closer relationships.
 
Church leaders need to be aware of their changing church dynamics and foster the right outcomes for their churches. Understanding church growth changes a church’s character, how it grows, and barriers to overcome for growth as the Lord leads. 
 
--Mark Snowden is the director for missional leadership, Cincinnati Area Baptist Association
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