I recently responded to questions provided by a church leader facing the challenge of evolving his church from “small family/community church” to a “much larger, moving-toward-regional church.”
For those of you who might be facing similar challenges, I thought I might share my responses …
- What is your current adult attendance for corporate worship? We don’t calculate an average for adults only. Our current “average weekly attendance” is 1,773 with 1,300 to 1,400 of that being adults. We do have “goals” in our Strategic Plan that break out Adults, Kids, and Students separately.
- What is your current number of elders? Our Leadership Team (Eldership) is currently at five total including Brian, our Senior Pastor. There are four others from inside the congregation. Our Bylaws state that we may have one from outside the congregation, but currently, we do not.
- What is your current number of pastoral staff? We currently have 15 full-time pastoral staff.
- What is your current model for how the staff and elders function together – staff led; elder led; staff led/elder protected; policy governance; some other model? We’re a staff led church using Carver Policy Governance. There’s currently only 1 “committee” chartered by the eldership. That’s a Finance Team.
- In a sentence or two, how does your current model work for you? It’s working great!
- How often do the elders meet? Quarterly as stated in the Bylaws.
- What is the agenda for those meetings? Brian does a “state of the church” including any staff issues that might be on the table. We review our Key Performance Measures (KPMs) and financials as well. Any proposed spending outside the approved budget is also discussed.
- Describe the role/function of your elders in a sentence or two. As a staff led church using Carver Policy Governance, the Leadership Team defines the “ends” of the organization while the staff defines the “means.” They’re concerned with “where” we’re headed, and whether or not we’re staying on mission. Brian, with the rest of the staff reporting to him and me, is responsible for “how” we’re getting there.
- When did you pass the 1,000 attendance barrier? We averaged 1,091 in attendance in 2006. In July of that year, we moved from the movie theater to the first of 2 buildings on our 19-acre campus. That helped us blow past 1,000. That was the biggest growth year in our history, growing 230 in average weekly attendance over the previous year (2005).
- What were your biggest challenges in breaking that growth barrier and how did you overcome them? Taking on a significant amount of debt to buy land and build-out our first building was our biggest challenge. It’s still a challenge today, after having opened the second building with a 1,000 seat (max.) venue in June of 2009. Assuming you’re asking more about challenges related to breaking the 1,000 barrier, I would say we never actually faced the preverbal “1,000 attendance barrier.” I think this was due to our beginning a building program in 2004 (capital campaign, land search, master planning, etc.) anticipating facing a barrier in the movie theater. Moving on to our new property in July of 2006 was, as it turns out, perfect timing relative to growing beyond 1,000.