I’ve written on this in the past but after reading Michael Fletcher’s “Overcoming Barriers to Church Growth” I discovered one more area in which our church hasn’t changed. And according to Fletcher, if we’re going to break through the 200 ceiling, we’ll need to change our church culture’s understanding on this important issue.
Here’s how he puts it:
Small churches, without realizing it, intuitively resist growth at some point since continued growth threatens the closeness they so enjoy. After a certain number of relationships, a person just doesn’t have room for more. Folks cannot remember everyone’s name but somehow feel they should. Not knowing everyone, and the underlying guilt that says we should, produces an awkwardness that actually pushes others away. Small churches fear that growing might destroy the family they have become (55).
For a church to break through the 100/200 barrier…The people must accept the fact that they will not be able to know everyone in the church. This does not mean they must give up a sense of family, but it does mean that they will have to learn to experience it in other ways. Properly done, this barrier can be broken without destroying the great fellowship members have been enjoying. New circles of fellowship must be developed, and even multiplied, to prompt continued growth (57).
What do you think? Is Fletcher right or wrong? Why is it important for a local church to strive for continued growth?