Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ministry Musings: Size Matters

One of the reasons I love being Lutheran is our embrace of the priesthood of all believers, that notion that all of us are called to minister to our neighbor. In the church, ministry isn’t just done by the paid professionals (i.e. the pastor), but by all of us. Unfortunately, over time the church has abdicated the responsibility for ministry to the pastor, and in some occasions to lay staff. We see this especially when a congregation grows.

Experts who study how congregations function tell us that worshipping size of a congregation dramatically effects how a congregation needs to function. One of those dividing points comes around 150 people in worship, right about what we are averaging. Generally speaking the biggest changes as a worshipping community becomes a large congregation are the addition of staff to keep up with the changes and the shift in the pastors responsibilities to be more administrative.

What this means is that as a congregation grows a pastor will spend more time training and supervising ministry and less time doing hands on ministry. You can imagine the objections that arise as this happens (i.e. less personal time with the pastor, etc.). You may have raised them yourself. This can certainly be the downside of growth.

On the other hand this can be a real blessing that comes out of growth. To keep ministry happening more people are forced to get involved leading ministry that they were called to because they can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for “pastor” to do it.

As we strive to grow as a worshiping community of Christ where are you getting involved with your call to ministry?

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