"Why Only Start Congregations That Will Have At Least 200 in Attendance? George, you must be crazy to suggest this. If you look at the North American Protestant scene, at least three-fourths or more of all congregations have less than 200 in attendance. What makes you think that we should only start new congregations that will have at least 200 in attendance? Well, as is typical of a George Bullard list, here are seven reasons why we should only start congregations that will have at least 200 in attendance. First, congregations need to be started with a vision that does not have a low ceiling. When congregations are started with the image of a close-knit extended family then they stifle creativity and the Spirit. They bind themselves in terms of size, and do not allow God's Spirit to help them soar to unbounded heights. They act like Depression Era congregations. Second, for most congregations to have a significant, positive, spiritual impact on their setting the need to be a significant presence with loving power and influence. To do this they need a size that gives them visibility and perceived impact on the neighborhood, community, or region. Third, increasingly people are looking for places where exciting things are happening. They also want places that have regular experiences that inspire, challenge, and inform. It takes a congregation of at least 200 in attendance to regularly have celebrations and authentic gatherings with a critical mass of people present to make it attractive to others. Fourth, the best way to start new congregations involves a sponsorship or mentoring model. Unfortunately, the number of congregations that are fully prepared for this role is few in regard to the number of new congregations needed. Therefore, when a new congregation is started, let's make it one of significant size among a significant target group of people to make its starting a good stewardship of resources. Fifth, increasingly new congregations will require multiple staff persons almost from the first day of operation. With two-income families, careful empowering of precious lay leadership time is required from the beginning. A system of lay mobilization must be in the DNA of new congregations, and this takes staff leadership. To make this economically viable requires a congregation of approximately 200 in attendance. Sixth, persons seeking a relationship with a congregation have higher expectations of the relationship experiences and the programs, ministries, and activities that congregations will offer. It takes an attendance of around 200 to begin to offer the types of services for which people are looking. Seventh, it does come down to economics at some point. The cost of starting new congregations is extremely high. When that high cost results in a worshipping community of 80-85 in average attendance or less, the full impact of the time, finance, and people investment is not realized. Seven Types of Congregations to Start That May Never Have 200 in Attendance There is a counterpoint to the idea that we should only start congregations that will have at least 200 in attendance. The counterpoint focuses on highly specialized types of congregations. Here is a list of seven. If you can think of others, please let me know at { HYPERLINK "mailto:BullardJournal@cs.com" }BullardJournal@cs.com. House Church or Cell Group congregation: These congregations tend to literally meet in houses or other small gathering places. Small Town, Community, or Defined Neighborhood: At times the chosen population demographics may not support a congregation that has at least 200 in worship. Resort and Leisure community: Many resort and leisure areas are seasonal and may swell to 200 in attendance during the high season. Multifamily Housing Community: Getting residents of a multifamily housing area to leave that are to attend church can be difficult. Deaf or Hearing Impaired congregation: Often the concentration of deaf or hearing-impaired people may not result in a large congregation. Senior Adult community or institution: Senior adult congregations are needed highly specialized congregations. Non-English Language or Immigrant congregation: Often the concentration of various language and ethnic groups is not sufficient to have a large congregation."

source: George Bullard in Church Champions Update Dec 15, 2000 tags: Church, Evangelism