Medium Church Woes

I know that there are challenges of being a minister of every church of every size, but being a minister in a medium sized church has its own unique problem set. The biggest problem is that our members expect us to have all of the programs that a larger church has, but since only 20 percent of the people actually do anything we never have enough workers. (or money for that matter, but that is another story).

So we are stuck with very real concerns such as finding people to work with our children. One train of thought that says to cancel anything that there aren’t workers for because if it was God’s desire then there would be enough help is hard because without children workers (especially for a nursery) we end up driving away the youth families that we need to survive.

Now I know that there are lots of different ways to make these things work. The problem is when you have a church full of people who have spent their lives sitting on a pew instead of getting involved or you have a group of people who used to be involved, but who don’t like the youth pastor or the music or the pastor and they have decided to sit this year all of those ideas fall flat.

Working in a medium sized church it just seems that there are never enough people willing to help out. We have talked about vision, asked people personally, had spiritual gift survey. We have tried exhortation and guilt and even outright begging and still it is the same people willing to step up and make a difference.

It feels like we need to blow everything up and start again with programs and groups and an organization structure that actually works for a church or size, but how do you convince people that it is something that needs to be done. Our church had a multi-month vision meeting where a group of people were tasked to figuring out what our church needed and at the end of it our suggestion was to add 3 more Sunday school classes and start some discipleship classes (which will need childcare btw, and as such will compound the problem).

What we are doing isn’t working, but it seems like we refuse to see it.  

2 thoughts on “Medium Church Woes

  • May 3, 2008 at 5:37 AM

    I feel you, man. I was at a church with a weekly attendance of about of about 450. Same sort of challenges. Any kind of course correction takes a lot of time and a thoughtful strategy. And even then, who knows what will happen?

    What’s needed is an opportunity for change. Right now I can only identify two of those opportunities. I remember reading more in One Size Doesn’t Fit All by Gary McIntosh.

    So the first opportunity is a crisis for the church. Church burns down, earthquake destroys local school, scandal in the Building and Grounds committee. God forbid anything like that happens. But if it does, maybe that’s the time to blow everything up and finally get rid of AWANA because it has the same purpose as the youth ministry

    The second opportunity is a new senior pastor. Again I pray he has a long and fruitful ministry at your church.

    What would be another opportunity for change?

  • May 3, 2008 at 5:40 AM

    Another thing. I hate to plug the latest fad, but have you heard of Simple Church by Rainer and Geiger? Actually, this would be last year’s fad, so I guess I’m okay.

    The point is, are there ministries or activities in your church that are being doubled somewhere else?

    I don’t mean to make it seem that I have the answers, man. My solution to the Medium Church Woes was to move to a church plant of thirty last year.


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