While social media, and even traditional media, are still preoccupied with megachurches and multisite churches, the reality is that most churches in North America are quite small.
The Barna group pegs the average Protestant church size in America at 89 adults. Sixty percent of protestant churches have less than 100 adults in attendance. Only 2 percent have over 1,000 adults attending.
Please understand, there’s nothing wrong with being a small church. I just know that almost every small church leader I speak to wants his or her church to grow.
I get that. That’s the mission of the church. Every single day, I want our church to become more effective in reaching one more person with the hope that’s in Christ.
So, why is it that most churches never break the 200 attendance mark?
Desire. Most leaders I know want their church to reach more people.
A lack of prayer. Many small church leaders are incredibly faithful in prayer.
Love. Some of the people in smaller churches love people as authentically as anyone I know.
Facility. Growth can start in the most unlikely places.
Let’s just assume you have a solid mission, theology and heart to reach people.
You know why most churches still don’t push past the 200 mark in attendance?
They organize, behave, lead and manage like a small organization.
Think about it.
There’s a world of difference between how you organize a corner store and how you organize a larger supermarket.
In a corner store, Mom and Pop run everything. Want to talk to the CEO? She’s stocking shelves. Want to see the director of marketing? He’s at the cash register.
Mom and Pop do everything, and they organize their business to stay small. Which is fine if you’re Mom and Pop and don’t want to grow.
But you can’t run a supermarket that way. You organize differently. You govern differently. There’s a produce manager and people who only stock shelves. There’s a floor manager, shift manager, general manager and so much more.
So what’s the translation to church world?
Here are eight reasons churches who want to grow end up staying small: