Culture At Large

No Such Thing As A Healthy Medium Sized Church?

Jerod Clark

As part of a class at my church, I recently finished reading a book called “One Size Doesn’t Fit All,” by Gary McIntosh.  While the title suggests that any church of any size is okay, it’s really a book focused on church growth.

There was one theme that stuck out to me as I was reading.  McIntosh suggests that there is no such thing as a healthy medium size church (201-400 attendees).  Churches are either growing or shrinking.

He writes:

…many medium sized churches face the decision of having to adjust their ministries to continue to growing into a large church.  If they don’t make the appropriate adjustments, they will either plateau for a time of decline back to a small church size.  Some medium-sized churches will plateau and stay at the medium church size, but the pull downward is stronger that the pull upward.  It’s usually just a matter of time before the plateaued church gets smaller.

McIntosh lays out what effects growth.  Things like changes in structure, leadership, pastoral role, decision making, staff and others.  If a church doesn’t make certain changes it just keeps stretching instead of actually growing.

This whole idea of no such thing as a healthy medium sized church is interesting to me.  What’s your experience?  Is it true that if a church isn’t growing it will eventually shrink?  Can a healthy church hover at 350 regular attendees?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Faith