Breaking Church-Growth Barriers: Build A Bigger Leadership Table
Ed Stetzer (This article originally appeared in Outreach Magazine.)
The typical church in the United States has fewer than 100 people in weekly attendance. One of the reasons is that in order to go beyond that number, we must move from relational connection to systems connection. When we are under 100, discipleship influence is exerted through direct relationships. When we pass the 100 mark, if we donít transition to a discipleship system that can be successful without a direct relationship to the senior leader, itíll ultimately fail.
If you take a table and start pouring sand on it, the tableís capacity is limited. Eventually, the sand will get so high that it will start pouring over the edges. What do you do? Either you can keep pouring sand, unconcerned that much of it is flowing off the table; you can stop pouring sand and stop caring about adding more; or you build a bigger and broader table that can handle more sand.
In this analogy, the leadership table has its limitations, especially when placed on the base of one person or family. In order to handle a greater capacity, we must build the bigger leadership tableóa system that empowers more people along with their capacities and gifts. And really, isnít this what the body of Christ is supposed to be aboutóthe gifts of the church working together for the good of the kingdom?
Have you reached your personal capacity to handle current growth? Who do you need to include in expanding leadership capacity in order to grow beyond the goalposts set out by the leadership team? What relationships need to be cultivated and what needs to be culled or cooled down in order for you to be more effective in your leadership role? If you want to know more about breaking through growth barriers in your church, Iíve created a web-based seminar to help. Check out Breaking the 200 Barrier.
Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.