Lyle Schaller, my favorite church consultant, led a retreat for the Atlanta Baptist Association when I was pastoring in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Schaller said two things I remember from that conference:
- Act your size. Average US church attendance now is about 90. If your church is larger, you’re bigger than average — act like it. His point was churches tend to think of themselves as smaller than they really are in comparison to other churches. For instance, our target for this blog, Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor, is churches running 300 or less. But a church with 300 in attendance is in the 90 percentile of all churches in the US. Not really small unless you only compare to megachurches. Tell your folks they are above average and leverage that in planning and dreaming.
- The umpire calls the game. Example: Say your attendance is 100, and you want to have a high attendance day. Your church sets a goal of 150. The big Sunday comes and you have 134 show up. Success? “Absolutely,” Schaller says. If you call it a winner, it’s a winner! Calling it helps frame the outcome and encourages those who tried. Plus Schaller contends that the congregation is looking to leadership to validate what has happened.
The next time there’s a judgment call to make, remember you’re the umpire. Call the game!
Get “Small-Church Pastor” updates by email. Subscribe here! Thanks.