How many church leaders does it take to change a lightbulb?

I’m not sure, but in many churches it takes 50 percent or more of the sitting board members to make virtually every decision. And there’s a church growth correlation that shows the more leaders involved in management decisions, the smaller the church’s potential.

Church Growth Corollary: The more leaders involved in day-to-day decisions, the less the church's potential @billtb. Share on X

Case in point: Small church has a problem with its existing insurance company. The company refuses to grant a rider to cover an outside group to use the church building – a group that would likely have brought in a steady stream of visitors to the church’s programming. When it’s time for the policy to renew, the pastor recommended changing companies to one widely used by the denomination (including insuring the denominational facilities) because they were less expensive and have a liberal rider policy. Seems like a slam dunk and the board approves the change.

Now, for the record, changing insurance carriers shouldn’t have been a board decision in the first place. The property committee or the church’s executive team (officers) in a healthy growing church would have made and executed this decision without board input or approval. But in a church destined to remain small, there is a core belief that “everyone” is entitled to being a part of any (and virtually every) decision.

Back to the case in point. When it came time to make the switch, the church’s leadership became paralyzed because a member of the church works at the church’s existing insurance agency. By the end of the week, the decision to change companies became a referendum on personalities rather than a sound business decision that supported the church’s mission and vision.

Small Church Thinking stifles congregations and limits a church's growth potential. @billtb Share on X

Small Church Thinking stifles congregations and limits a church’s growth potential.

  • Members matter more than mission
  • Everybody’s opinion is equally valid
  • Everyone’s opinion deserves to be heard and considered
  • Majority rules … except when a minority objects
  • Peace at any cost

There are other Small Church Thinking points, such as the belief that everyone should know everyone else at a church (thus guaranteeing a church cannot grow much beyond 100), but the above are germane to the case in point.

Decision making is a key indicator of a church’s potential. Good decision making practices won’t necessarily grow a church, but poor decision making practices guarantees a church’s inability to grow.

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What other small church thinking points are you aware of? Share with us in the Comment section below.

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