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View Breaking Barriers in Growing Churches Beyond The 200 Barrier and 800 Barrier

Breaking Barriers in Growing Churches Beyond The 200 Barrier and 800 Barrier

Dr. Larry Sherman
Director of Church Planting
Great Lakes Conference ECC

1.  Qualities of Rapid Growth Churches (Dave Olson, 2003)
Formula: NG = VF (a) x RR (b) – BDL (c)
Net Growth = Visitor Flow x Retention Rate minus Back-Door-Loss
  a.  Visitor Flow = Ability to get large numbers of visitors to check them out.
    i.  If this isn’t happening, it’s the #1 reason the church is blocked…
    ii.  Invitation – by every person to their networks
    iii.  Excitement about what God is doing at the church
    iv.  Cultural relevance
  b.  Retention Rate = Ability to Retain a significant percentage of visitors and quickly create ownership.
    i.  Profound spiritual experience
    ii.  Open social system
    iii.  Planned entrance ramp
    iv.  Small Group connection
  c.  Back-Door-Loss = Ability to Mobilize them in Spiritual Growth, Service and Stewardship to Minimize BDL (Back Door Loss)
    i.  Everyone can have a ministry
    ii.  Everyone is needed to help accomplish the Mission

2.  Qualities of a Rapid Growth Lead Pastor (Dave Olson, 2003)
  a.  Inspiring Preacher/Teacher
    i.  Presents Scripture in a way that connects with freshness and power
    ii.  Can command the attention of groups larger than 500 – while making it seem like they are personally addressing each one
    iii.  Uses creativity, story-telling, and humor to great effect
  b.  Has a unique, focused, and achievable vision for the church
    i.  Unique, focused vision = flows out of the passion of the pastor and others see this as something very special they can be involved in for God.
    ii.  Has the passion & drive to achieve this
    iii.  Is a hard-worker and makes excellent use of time
    iv.  Is a leader who attracts, empowers, and complements other leaders
  c.  Is strongly Intuitive with the Wisdom gift
    i.  Listens well
    ii.  Intuitively understands people’s needs
    iii.  Understands the unique culture and how to apply the Gospel to it.
  d.  Creates loyalty and ownership among members
    i.  Corporate modeling: 
        1.  There is a ‘team’ dynamic – with other people up front, testimonies from members – so people understand that ‘I’m needed’ and that this is not just a show to enjoy.
        2.  Everyone is excited about the vision and can easily articulate the vision with friends, family…
    ii.  Creates connection and community with people
        1.  Understands how to help guests connect and make friends quickly
    iii.  Membership is valued
        1.  “People join clubs for a new benefit” = people join churches for a new benefit and new opportunity to be a part of God’s movement
        2.  People have appropriate ‘voice’ in big decisions, but trust leaders to direct the church.
    iv.  Leadership structure is steamlined and works by:
        1.  Cultivating wise, insightful leaders around them: pastoral, lay, advisory…
        2.  Having Missional Leadership (structure and staffing matches the few, key missional directions)
        3.  Encouraging the staff to do more than they thought.  Can quickly fire staff who don’t fit the vision or size.
  e.  Very Entrepreneurial
    i.  Innovates, creates, plans and structures quickly
    ii.  Lives in the BIG Picture
    iii.  Can personally handle the critical issues, delegate details, and knows the difference.

3.  Insights from The Very Large Church: New Rules for Leaders by Lyle Schaller (note #s listed below are page #s in Schaller’s book)
  a.  What are the LIDS, or ‘self-imposed ceilings’ in your church created by expectations (112) in the…
    i.  Service area: one fishing spot or several – one style or multiple styles; one service or multiple services; one location or multiple locations
    ii.  Target group: one bait or many – one primary group, or multiple targets (each pursued intentionally)
    iii.  Leadership Barrier: larger churches have smaller leadership teams (115) that are empowered to lead.  And have gifted staff to lead various ministries – often promoted from within the church.
    iv.  Innovation for Mission: rapidly growing churches expect to be innovating new ministries to reach new people in a changing culture.  They look for signs of ‘calcification’ – stuff that worked in the past, but that no longer connects.
    v.  Focus more on what Jesus wants us to do today for Him, than on what we prefer.

  b.  Leadership Style of Sr Pastor Changes with Growth
    i.  See 1984 Analogies from Looking In the Mirror by Schaller.
    ii.  The upper stages have been changed in The Very Large Church
    iii.  350+ attendance (139ff)
        1.  People have a need for Place: a facility that fits the mission/vision of the church
        2.  Pastor must move from being a “Challenger” (who challenges the people to greater growth) to a “Visionary”
            a.  Visionaries help people see that they must give up the Past to prepare for God’s preferred Future
            b.  Visionaries move beyond setting SMART Goals to talking about fulfilling the Potential.  Goals have ceilings – Visions have no ceilings.
            c.  Visionaries help people move beyond what we can do to expecting God to do amazing things.
            d.  Challengers can work within the limitations of local rules/expectations; Visionaries ignore the past expectations or write a new rule book.
            e.  Challengers work to get 100% of the people on-board to accept the challenge; Visionaries only need the enthusiastic support of 7-30 influencers who will become allies in enlisting support for the compelling vision.
    iv.  700+ attendance (143ff)
        1.  Building Ministry Staff
            a.  Move from “Hub-and-spoke” model where the Sr Pastor is the Hub whom everyone reports to.
            b.  Interim step is to have the Sr Pastor supervise the Ministry Staff Team and Executive Pastor supervise the Support Staff Team – works well up to 800 attendance.  However, this really is 2 “Hub-and-Spoke” teams, and can limit you in moving forward.
            c.  Must also move from hiring Generalists (eg Associate Pastors) to hiring Specialists.  Often these are found within the church.
            d.  Must move to find and train gifted volunteers (unpaid servants) rather than continuing to expand the staff.
    v.  1500+ attendance (146ff)
        1.  Building an Environment for Leaders to Flourish in fulfilling our Mission
            a.  In earlier stages, pastors focus on supervision and control.  The #1 role of the pastor of a church of 1500+ is to “create and support an environment for highly skilled specialists.  They require support, information about the larger picture, and protection when someone objects to a new ministry.  To use a football analogy, I now spend more time as a blocking back than I do as the quarterback.”  Or, leadership is more like conducting a symphony orchestra than being a football coach.
            b.  “I also spend more time and energy in improving and enhancing the culture of the congregation than I devote to controlling the work of the paid staff.”
            c.  You become a Team of Teams.  Each team is usually composed of a full-time staff person, 1-4 part-time paid specialists, and 3-15 volunteers.
            d.  Staff meetings include the Sr Pastor, the 12 Ministry Team Staff, the Admin Assistant, and possibly the Receptionist.
    vi.  Other Insights
        1.  A Pastor of a growing church must continually adapt his leadership style – continually learn.
        2.  Must pay attention to the Yearnings of People (213 – from Robert Randall):
            a.  To feel understood
            b.  To understand
            c.  To belong
            d.  For Hope – must be a bringer of Hope to hurting people.
            e.  All these happen best in relationship, not in function, obligation or task.
        3.  Usually has a long pastorate.
        4.  Can develop a multi-layed group structure (209f)
            a.  Not just a church of small groups, but a community of communities
            b.  Uses community-sized groups as well as cell-sized groups.  Understands that there is often a ‘homogeneity’ within each of these groupings.
            c.  Explores Multiple Services and Multiple Sites

        5.  Interesting Case Study on the ECC on 224f
            a.  which he cites positively
            b.  and looks at the high membership requirements as an asset

Category:Fruitfulness - Years 2-3