Ministry in Small Churches, pt 1

This post is the first in a sketch of the changes I believe are coming to the way ministry is done in small churches.

What is a small church?  USAChurches.org suggests one set of categories  They have four groups:

  1. Megachurches (AWA 2000 or above) (AWA = average weekly attendance)
  2. Large churches (AWA 300 – 1999)
  3. Medium churches (AWA 51 – 299)
  4. Small churches (AWA 50 or under)

These categories make no sense to me.  Take a church with an AWA of 60.  Does that church have more in common with a church of 249 or a church of 49?  Clearly, there will be more commonality with the church of 49.

Gary McIntosh (One Size Doesn’t Fit All) seems to have a better set of categories.  (This document also describes the common characteristics of each category.)

  1. Large churches (AWA 401 or above); focus is on organization, pastor is a visionary leader, decision making is by staff and leadership, etc.
  2. Medium churches (AWA 201 – 400) focus is on programs, pastor is an administrator, decision making is by committees, etc.
  3. Small churches (AWA 200 or under) focus is on relationships, pastor pastors everyone, decision making is by congregation, etc.

I would add megachurches (traditionally AWA 1000 or above) to this typology; they have their own features and concerns.  I would also quibble with the border between small and medium-sized; it seems to me that the line is more between 125 or 150.

Tomorrow: why should we focus on the future of ministry in small churches?

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