How Big is Your Church? | The Brethren Church

How Big is Your Church?

How Big is Your Church?

Submitted by Brethren Church on Tue, 03/01/2016 - 1:05am

Whenever people talk about their church to others, one of the most common questions is, “How big is your church?” They aren’t asking about square footage (although that would be a great response!), but about the average weekend attendance. We have a bad habit of thinking that size is the most important measure of a church’s health, that bigger is always better, and smaller means that something is wrong. We buy the books and programs of people who have big churches, right? One of the fundamental truths of Church Health is that SIZE DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTH.
     Think about it; when you visit your doctor, you get weighed. Imagine if your weight was the only or the primary statistic your doctor used to determine your health. He would have no idea of how healthy or sick you were! In the same way, church numerical size is not a great indicator of health. Numerous factors can influence a church’s numerical size, and many of these have nothing to do with health, but with outside factors. A smaller church can be very healthy, while a church that is currently large could be in very critical condition. A change of size in either direction may mean something, but only in relationship to a host of other factors.
     A physical exam measures numbers that DO communicate health, like blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and blood chemistry. These actions have been tested through the years to be accurate indicators of relative health. In the same way, Natural Church Development (NCD)  has spent decades studying hundreds of thousands of churches of almost every size and denomination in over 100 countries and has discovered that there are certain “health characteristics” that are universally true of healthy churches. NCD has determined the eight characteristics that determine church health and developed the NCD survey to not only determine a church’s overall health but also where changes in a church’s systems and behavior can be the most effective in improving overall church health. These eight characteristics are Empowering Leadership, Gift-based Ministry, Passionate Spirituality, Effective Structures, Inspiring Worship Service, Holistic Small Groups, Need-oriented Evangelism, and Loving Relationships.
     These characteristics provide a profile of a church’s health, just as a physical exam paints a picture of our current physical health. Mobilize then works with the leadership of the church to look at the profile, celebrate the health that exists, and develop an intentional plan to increase that health by focusing on those areas that have the greatest need. Every church, like every individual, is different, so Mobilize works with each church to build an individually customized plan for each particular church’s need at that moment in their journey.
     Sounds like something that could benefit your church? If your church has never done an NCD survey, if it has been a few year since you did one, or if you just want more information about the NCD process, you can contact Gary Diehl at Gary@brethrenchurch.org or 419-289-1708.

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