Congregations have four levels of maturity – okay, good, quality, and excellence. As the church grows in numbers, it must also grow in its maturity. People expect more the larger a church becomes, and it takes more maturity to disciple people as the church grows. So here is how it works. Rate where your church is in its maturity growth.

In churches with 0-150 in worship okay is acceptable. What is done is not good or bad, it is merely okay. For example: Our music is okay. It’s not good, but it’s not bad. Every other Sunday it’s good but every other Sunday it’s okay. Periodically the sound system goes crazy and people have to hold their ears. Most of the time the band shows up. In a church this size we don’t expect our pastor to be the greatest, we just hope the pastor is okay. In fact, often we’re just glad to have a pastor. In a church this size the leadership skills of the laity can be okay, sometimes they function well and sometimes they just barely get by. Their primary goal is to function efficiently.

In churches with 250+ okay is not good enough. Now the music has to be good. Every other Sunday the music is recordable. The sound system goes haywire now and then, but most of the time it is good. The band shows up all of the time, but sometimes they’re not always together. In a church this size it is not good if the pastor is just okay. Now we expect the pastor to be better than okay. We expect more than, we just have a pastor. In a church this size, the laity have to learn how to function more effectively.

In churches with 500+ good is no longer acceptable. Now we must have quality. Quality means that most of the time the band is recordable and the sound system never goes haywire and if it does, someone has to figure out how it will not happen again. Now the band always seems to have it all together. In a church this size, the pastors sermons and leadership has to be quality. The sermon must be great every Sunday and the ability to lead has to improve each year. In a church this size laity must function at such a high level that they need regular on-going training just in their business. They can no longer show up when they want to or give what they want to, now they must be more than effective, they must give catalytic leadership
* In churches with1000+ quality is no longer acceptable. Now we must have excellence. Excellence means that every Sunday the music is recordable and the sound system never, ever goes haywire because we just spent $100,000 on a new system and now we have a sound engineer running the equipment. Not only does the band show up but if anyone in the band gets sick at 2:00 am on Sunday morning, we have multiple back up in the wing so that we can call at 2:30 Sunday morning and they show up and no one knows what happened because they practiced with the band every week. In this size church, the sermon must be the best in town and the leadership style must be improving almost monthly. In a church this size laity must give prophetic leadership.

The above maturity scale explains why so many churches plateau and seldom grow beyond certain sizes. They do not mature as they should. This also gives some hint as to how to plant new congregations. The sooner the church plant functions on the excellent level the more likely it is to do well.