Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Does Size Matter?

The Call and Response Blog had a very interesting post about congregational size. Mark Chaves tells us that most congregations are small but most people attend large congregations. I'll let him explain it.

"To get a feel for just how concentrated people are in the largest congregations, imagine that we have lined up all congregations in the United States, from the smallest to the largest, and imagine that you are walking up this line, starting on the end with the smallest congregations. When you get to a congregation with 400 people in it, you would have walked past about half of all the churchgoers in the United States, but you already would have walked past more than 90 percent of all congregations!"
He is right. This lands some huge punches when it comes to American Christianity. Should money and power from mainline denominations be going to larger congregations or keeping up with the more smaller congregations? If larger churches are producing more future clergy will they be able to work in the smaller congregations effectively if 'big church' is all they know? How much power should larger churches have in annual conference if more members are at their churches? There are many more but it is an interesting concept.

If we take the largest congregations in the Western North Carolina Conference I wonder what percentage of our members would attend those churches? It is a little crazy to think about but it is a reality. Now what?

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