This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations or presbytery I serve.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Small Enough to Grow.

            A lot of churches are not small enough to grow. 
            (This goes for presbyteries and denominations as well.)
            If a church has a sense of its own mission, and a significant number of members are  obstructing it, the church probably has to lose them.  Or it could continue in the familiar template of a long, slow decline. 
            It is healthier to lose unhappy dissenters, than to continue to muddle through in disunity.  An organization that is spending too much of its energy holding itself together is not going to have enough energy to do what it is called by God to do in the world. 
            A smaller, focused, committed, intentional congregation is more effective than a larger congregation that doesn’t agree on, and therefore can’t say, who they are or what they are called to do.  An effective organization is much more likely to grow.  It could find itself with more members than it had before.  While a larger, divided congregation is more likely to remain in a downward spiral. 
            I have seen a shrinking, small church suddenly lose 25% of its members, only to turn around and show gains within a year because it was no longer hindered by those unhappy members from doing its mission.  That church is now larger than it was before the split.   
            So, if you have unhappy members in your church, allow them to move on to where they can be happy.  If you are unhappy where you are, move on to where you can be happy. 
            AND FEAR NOT!!!  A happy and united congregation has a better chance to see significant growth, than one that has unhappy people holding it back.
            Oh, and churches have to develop a strong enough sense of themselves and their mission so that the members have something to be happy, or unhappy, about.
            So the choice for many churches is: a) lose a lot of people quickly, and retain the possibility for growth, or b) continue to lose everyone, but slowly, and have no possibility for growth.

1 comment:

John Edward Harris said...

I can not agree more. I have personally experienced the dynamics which you describe. Your post also reminds me that it is often easier to attract new members than to retain or get back disgruntled members.