Three Ways to Lead Differently in a Church Breaking the 200 Barrier

There is a sociological shift pastors must navigate as church attendance rises above 200.

Many pastors, church planters, and church leaders often wonder what missteps often prevent churches from successfully breaking the 200 barrier—that is, surpassing 200 attendees in their weekly attendance.

Some churches—in an effort to cross this number successfully—take courses like my Breaking the 200 Barrier or similar classes like my friend Carey Nieuwhof’s class. But in talking about this course and why churches even have such a barrier, I get a lot of questions from people like “Why does 200 matter?” or “What does the Bible say about numbers?”

I’m going to address these questions.

Now of course it’s important to remember that 200 is not some magical number. What it represents is a sociological shift and a cultural challenge. A church has to lead well (and differently) in order to function well once they pass 200 in attendance. The point is not that the number 200 has some sort of scriptural significance but that there really is a substantive change when a church arrives at a congregation that large.

Put simply, the church size changes the nature of the relationship between those who attend. How you lead a church of 75 is, in many important ways, different from how you lead a church of 250.

For churches looking to grow, it’s important to note that without a shift in the way that you do ministry in a church of 100, you can’t properly manage a church of 300; the congregation simply wouldn’t get the appropriate shepherding and pastoral care.

Of course, you could just choose to not grow over 100 and that settles the issue. However, since many churches desire to grow, it is best to do so in discerning ways that provide pastoral care, effective systems, …

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