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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big Churches? Small Churches? HEALTHY CHURCH!

I sent the following to the leaders in my church:

Elders, Deacons, Ministers, and Pastors,

I read an article that I thought might inform us as we lead HillSong Church in attempting to be a community of Christ followers who welcome the weary, prod the inert, encourage the melancholy, and cheer and equip the motivated.  

Our work is to announce that Jesus is Lord and King and in him, the Kingdom of God has come.  

Our work is to equip people with knowledge, skills, and a team as they grow as disciples.

As we do our work, are we a "small church," or a "mid-sized church."  We are not large by any measurement.

I have never thought of us as small.  We have many ministries.  We support multiple works locally and internationally.  We are usually busy.  In fact, mid July - late August is our only sleepy time, and even now, our youth group is quite active.  

However on Karl Vaters' webtsite, one of the markers (of big/small) is the "200 barrier." HillSong never has 200 on a Sunday morning so by his definition, we'd be small.

I honestly don't care and don't think of us as small.  We have big ideas and God-sized dreams and our elders and deacons are energetic supporters of the ideas suggested by the vision-minded pastors.  I see us not as big or small but as healthy and purposeful.   I love being part of what we do.  I am grateful and I think God has a lot in store for us.

Would I like us to be bigger?  I don't really think about it that way, not seriously anyway.  I would not resist growth.  I certainly want out people to be more evangelistic and more pro-active in inviting their unchurched friends.  But, I think our biggest evangelism/outreach strategy should be training and encouraging all our members to be more evangelistic and inviting.   If growth happens that way, by our folks inviting people, then I would be all for growth.  If our folks became so inviting we grew to 200, 500, whatever, then I'd be all for it.

But I would oppose program changes designed explicitly to get people in the door.  I want people to come because they are led here by the Spirit.  I want people to come because they are invited by HillSong folks.  I am OK with some advertising (bumper stickers, yard signs, etc).  I am pro-growth.  I want our efforts to be true to who God is creating us to be (a safe place where people are made new and sent out in Jesus' name).

So I send you Vaters' article and invite you to peruse his site.  And I commend and thank you for your part in making HillSong a community of Christ-followers who love each other welcome new folks in.

- Rob

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