The 200 Barrier. Just seeing those words strikes fear into the hearts of small church pastors. Did you shake in your boots a bit when you saw that? Did you feel inadequate? Guilty? Like you just can't cut it?
WELL DON'T! You are doing Kingdom work. You are making a difference in people's lives. You are leading a church that is important to God. You are not defined by the number of people in your congregation and you are definitely not less-than because you haven't broken a so-called barrier.
Today on the Podcast, we talk with Karl from NewSmallChurch.com about the dreaded 200 barrier and why 80% of churches will never get past it. In fact, we are discussing the content of one of Karl's essential 12 blog posts, #6 - The Surprising Reason 80% of Churches Will Never Break the 200 Barrier.
As usual, Karl is full of encouraging thoughts for small church pastors. Karl encourages us to see ourselves the way God does, rather than letting the church-growth mentality drag us down.
Maybe the most poignant thing Karl brings up is the real reason he (and most of us) will never cross the 200 barrier: we stink at running systems and being administrators. Karl knows that he is a gifted teacher, counselor and peacemaker, but none of those skills really translated over into a bigger context.
Karl recognizes his strengths and weaknesses and is set free because of it! Instead of deluding ourselves into believing we're something we're not, we could all follow Karl's example of self-awareness which leads to greater fulfillment.
It's so easy to get discouraged in the church-growth culture of American Christianity, but our churches need us to stay focused on the positive. That positive is this: God is using small churches across the globe to further His mission and bring people to Christ.
Instead of seeing 200 as a barrier, we can see it as an opportunity to do big ministry in a small context. Instead of thinking about it as a barrier, we can recognize the unique advantages that having fewer than 200 people allows us to have.
Finally - we think 200 is juuuuuuuust right. More than that is just too dangerous! :) Check it out...
“Why are you pastoring a small church?” How often have you received that question? Probably not many times, if at all. And the reason you haven’t is that people are kinder than that. They believe that the answer shines a negative light on you, so they would not set you up with a question like that.
Have you ever asked yourself that question, Pastor? Perhaps you haven’t for the same reason most people wouldn’t ask you. Maybe you believe the answer, truth be told, would not be complimentary to you. So you avoid it, you don’t think about that question, or others like it:
You might think that the answers to those questions are as follows:
We are going to talk this week, on episode 73 of the 200churches Podcast, to Karl Vaters from NewSmallChurch.com about an article he wrote titled: The Surprising Reason 80% of Churches Will Never Break the 200 Barrier. Karl has a great take on this, but admittedly one that not everyone will agree with. We will engage Karl on the gridiron of ideas, of motivation, and of thinking that will either propel us in ministry, or restrain us from successful ministry.
In this week’s episode we are going to delve into some touchy, sensitive areas for us pastors. Areas that are sometimes too close for comfort.
But hey, we all think about these things! We all, as small church pastors, have to deal with the doubts and discouragements, the fears and the frustrations of not seeing continual upward motion. So we are going to talk turkey with a friend named Karl! It will be a good episode, and if we have anything to do with it, an encouraging episode!
ONE MORE THING
Now, as Columbo used to say, “Uh, just one more thing…” Just think about this – when us pastors are thinking about the size of our churches, concerned about how much others like us, or whether or not we will be able to pull off a multisite in the next two years – what do you think the majority of our people are thinking about? Yeah, that’s right… NOT that! They’re living their lives, probably loving their church and pastor, and just trying to live for Jesus.
So the next time we get a little too introspective about our ministry, let’s not forget about the people we shepherd, and how much they need our love, support, encouragement, and spiritual care and feeding. The best way to get out of a slump sometimes is simply to engage people, serving them, loving them, and meeting their needs.
It can be really simple, like what my father once said to me, “Jeffrey, the best antidote for inaction is… action! Now get moving!” Yeah. Why didn’t I think of that? Thanks Dad!
We will catch up with YOU on Wednesday! Have a wonderful week.
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