[h/t: church relevance]   

As a male church church planting type person it seems that folks always want to know how big we are.   And as a male church planter that thinks numbers are one indication of health, sometime I do like to talk about how big we are.  Please don’t try to analyze this too much.  Far to easy.

In any case, I guess there are always different perspectives on size.

Take for example this post of a conversations with Ed Young of Creative Pastors when when talking about the numerical plateau of 15,000 in attendance.

As I’ve talked to pastors of other large churches, we’re finding that
the 15,000-17,000 mark is somewhat of a glass ceiling. When you reach
those numbers, ongoing challenges like traffic and crowd congestion
move to new heights.

For those called to that type of ministry. more power to ya.  I am sure there are conversations had and leadership skills developed in order to have solid ministry at that level.  I can’t even begin to think about what serving in that context would be like.  Truth be told,  I just don’t feel called to having or achieving that type of ministry.  In fact when I think about numbers, what I have been experiencing and feel in my gut is that there is a limit, at least in my crazy corner of the world, San Francisco progressive urban hipster land.

Dash in his post, The limits of church growth, he argues that acknowledging limits opens new avenue for living the gospel.

It is time to acknowledge the limits of the church growth model for
churches in post-Christendom Canada. Acknowledging these limits will
prompt us to explore other avenues. Theologians can help us relearn the
Gospel and recapture a biblical theology of the church. Sociologists
can help us learn from the explosive growth of the church within its
first three centuries, and the growth of the church this century in
Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Missiologists can help us learn how to
reach the majority of the population that are not being reached by
contemporary methods.

I would also add that acknowledging limits takes seriously some of the realties of culture that will help communities and congregations better live into who God hopes for them to be.  If you buy into the Longtail Effect, the smaller niche communities will eventually serve a cumulatively greater number of people than the big old magachurches.  We will always have the large congregations that attract a certain type of person and attract all the hype, but how empowering would it be for a small emerging community to be affirmed for not only serving people with uber-relevance, but ALSO being part of a large number of people with the same approach to living the Gospel in community.  Number AND relevance . . . hmmm, go figure.


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