It’s impossible for your church to grow and everything to stay the same. I know it would be nice if everything could stay the same as the church grows, but it can’t. And the secret underlying truth is as your church grows you will lose some things along the way. But that’s kind of the point. You simply can’t move from here (current reality) to there (preferred future) and everything stay the way it is. If it did, you’d never get “there,” you’d just stay where you are. Understanding that, here are 10 things you lose when your church grows:
This isn’t the goal of growth and no one “wants” to lose people, but it’s inevitable with growth. You are going to lose people. You’ll hear the age-old complaint, “The church is changing and it’s not what it used to be.” But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? If every church stayed the way it was, no one new would enter the kingdom. And if every person stayed the way they were, they’d never be conformed into the image of Christ. Change is required to walk with Jesus.
#2 Staff and Volunteers
The most difficult thing to lose as the church grows is not just people but key people. Particularly staff and volunteers. However, the reality is the people that got you to where you are aren’t necessarily going to take you where you’re going. They had a particular personality, gifting and skill-set to be the right person at the right time. But that also inevitably means that eventually everyone is the wrong person at some point as well.
#3 Your Parking Spot and Favorite Seat
Chances are if your church is going to grow it means there are going to be new people showing up, and unless you have your name on your parking stall and a sign on your seat, eventually you’re going to head to church and have to find another place to park and another place to sit. If your church is going to grow it, means you’re going to have to get used to change, and you’re going to have to give something up. Probably a lot of somethings.
#4 Relational Connections
When the church is smaller, you can lean into and lead through key relational connections. In fact, you can know everyone in the church when the church is smaller. Not so in a larger church. It doesn’t mean everyone can’t be known, it just means you can’t know everyone.
#5 Segment-Targeted Ministries
In a smaller church, moments like child dedications and high school graduations can be celebrated in the main worship service. As the church grows, these celebrations will come to be limited to segment-targeted ministries such as Children’s or Student Ministries.
#6 Insider-Focused Ministries
As your church grows, you will begin to lose insider-focused ministries. You know, those ministries that keep the core long-term attenders happy but have no impact on people outside the faith. Time, finances, facility and people resources (which all have finite limitations) will naturally transition toward reaching outsiders. Sorry ladies, that quilting club might not make it.