If your Pastor hasn’t answered this question, don’t start work until she does. Whether you’re growing or small is fundamental to how you run the Church. And while it may seem small minded for your Pastor or your leadership team to admit you’re a decidedly small Church, you’ll benefit far greatly if you are and know it.
If you’re a small Church, like a small business, your key focus is to service your core. This mission will take a higher precedence over reaching out and growing your membership. Meeting your membership needs, birthdays, anniversaries, spiritual development will be the main focus. If you’re less than 100, each member may have direct access to the senior Pastor or Church staff at almost any time. There’s way more stability and predictability in a small Church. Major sweeping changes are few and far between. During sermons, the Pastor may name drop Church members. Depth, a richness, a distinct culture are often attributes of a small Church. When done right, the support structure there is second to none. The demographic of a small Church is usually older and homogenous. If you visit a Church and everyone looks at you like you’re new and you’re singled out, you may be in a small Church.
The goal of a growing Church is markedly different. Like a startup, your Church recognizes and possesses the capacity for 10x exponential growth. Having the capacity without the opportunity or recognizing the opportunity without the capacity is pretty useless. Both have to be available in tandem. A startup is really aiming for a place in the Fortune 500 in a relatively short amount of time. Often times, when they succeed, it’s because they have the ability and the opportunity to do so. In a growing Church, the culture is different from a small Church. Changes are more frequent. There are most likely more events, changes occur almost every Sunday. New team members are added and structures are setup on the fly. The senior Pastor is almost often not available to a lot of members though staff members may be available to perform pastoral duties. It’s a nightmare for people who are looking for stability and the predictability. The demographic may even be on the younger side. The only thing that’s set in stone in a growing Church is usually an element of the service (praise, the sermon) and constant change. If you visit a Church and everyone looks at you like you may be new, and are rehearsed in their greeting, you may be in a growing Church. Growing Churches expect visitors. They’re well practiced in their welcome routine. In fact, they may be preparing you to get ready to welcome others soon, as this is their reality. Growing Churches often have stretch goals.
The objectives and culture of a growing and small Church are usually in conflict. The message must be clear and the identity set by the leadership about what type of Church is being built. Depending on what it is, the congregation may be responsive or resist what the administration is trying to do.