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:
- Megachurches (AWA 2000 or above) (AWA = average weekly attendance)
- Large churches (AWA 300 – 1999)
- Medium churches (AWA 51 – 299)
- 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.
- Large churches (AWA 401 or above); focus is on organization, pastor is a visionary leader, decision making is by staff and leadership, etc.
- Medium churches (AWA 201 – 400) focus is on programs, pastor is an administrator, decision making is by committees, etc.
- 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?