One of the things that always surprises me is how fast my boys grow. From July to November, my nine year old’s foot grew from a men’s size 7 1/2 to 10 1/2. It was only when I bought him new running shoes that I realized that he was playing basketball in shoes two sizes too small for him. I asked him why he didn’t tell me his shoes were too small, to which he expectantly replied, “I dunno.”
My other son, who is 14, is now just at 6 foot tall and wears the same size pants as his dad. I have no idea when that happened. And no idea how my budget will be able to keep up with this kind of growth.
When I visit new churches, I notice lots of things–but this growth issue is one of the most prevalent. Too many churches are completely unaware of their size. Church plants often follow models set forth by other churches and don’t do well at properly assessing how their model fits into their area and their numbers. Or, a church grows at such a quick rate, that a larger church still operates as a small church, having an elite core group of people, and poor communication. Or a church is a satellite campus, and attempts to have BIG worship, BIG media BIG BIG BIG, just like the main campus and it just doesn’t translate well with the amount of people in the worship service.
One of the most detrimental and painful mistakes a growing church can make is not truly understanding it’s size. The new year is a good time to assess what size shoes your church is wearing and whether or not it’s time to buy a new pair. You should assess your church size if:
1. You haven’t reviewed your numbers and your systems in six months or longer.
2. You have three or more new families visiting every week.
3. Visitors attend but do not return.
4. You are losing families.
5. You have new goals for the new year.
I don’t want my kids playing ball in shoes that are too small, and you don’t want your church operating at a size it is not. Just like my nine year old, your church isn’t going to tell you. We can love people better, and honor God more if we are acutely aware of the growing pains of our church. And loving God and People are what the new year is all about!
How’s your church doing?