I don’t know if you’ve been following the latest new trend in the blogging world, the "Pirate Blog." But Andy Stanley’s comments about church world have been amazing. I’ve copied (without permission, but I hope it’s OK) his thoughts on what a church’s optimal size should be & what church planters should focus on…
On a church’s optimal size:
"As to the optimal church size… I pretty much agree with what everyone has written. In fact, our answer to that question may seem a bit…simplistic… compared to previous entries.
Our theory is that a church should be allowed or encouraged to grow large enough to sustain a viable high school and middle school ministry. A successful student ministriy requires critical mass in order to capture and keep the attention of their target audience. So the question becomes, how many aduilts are required to generate critical mass for a student ministry? That depends upon the demographic of a community.
If you are a twenty six year old seminary student with a couple of kids in diapers that may not sound like a great answer. But if you are a church planter with 150 people and one of your elders just informed you that her family is leaving because you don’t have anything for her thirteen year old, it makes painful sense.
Parents will put up with a lot in big church if thier teenagers feel connected to a student ministry.
That’s it. Reaction welcomed. We’re still learning."
On church planting:
"Small churches should always play to their strengths. Small churches should only do what they can do well. What you can’t do well, don’t do at all. Sounds extreme, but remember, mediocre never triggers momentum. Ever. Mediocre just uses up resources.
New churches that try to have something for everyone usually end up with nothing great for anyone. New churhches and small churches should acknowledge that they cannot create great student environments until they get bigger. Having admitted that, they should do exactly what you are doing in NY – drop back and focus on children. When parents complain, just be honest. Tell ’em it is Ok to send their kids to the church down the street. Don’t ask them to put their kids in a bad student environment. That will sour them towards the church.
If you do a great job creating relevant environments for children you will attract parents. As long as you are attracting new adults, you are moving in the right direction.
One of my church planting heroes is Tommy Politz. He and his team planted a church about six miles from NP in an area of new growth. In the early days people would come to him and ask what Stone Creek was planning to do for single adults. Tommy is a smart guy. He knew better than to try and have something for everbody. So he was honest. "Nothing." He made it clear that in the early days they were focusing on families. Primarily young families. Then he would suggest they visit North Point. You gotta love that. That’s why I love Tommy."