Getting Smaller (to reach more people)

“In 2014 Christ Church became a sociological mega-church.  

Now I think we have to get smaller.”

Though we average over 2,000 per week in worship, we don’t feel like a mega-church.  Our weekly attendance is the aggregate total of eight worship services of varying sizes held in four locations (nine services in five locations if you count our monthly Biker Church).  Our largest two services average less than 700.  We also offer a service that average about 250 on Sunday evenings, one that runs about 150 on Wednesday evenings and three campuses that average a little better than a 100 each.  In addition, we offer a traditional Saturday evening service that averages 50 and monthly Biker Church averages about 30.

It occurs to me that we are less a mega-church than a congregation offering multiple worship services of all sizes and several musical styles in various locations throughout the week.  My guess is that congregations that wish to grow in the next ten years are going to have to offer more worship opportunities, in more time slots and in more locations.  Not everyone is free on Sunday mornings anymore!

There are some real upsides to the multiple service approach.  It allows congregations to focus resources on their primary mission (worshiping God), keeps a keen eye on excellence, allows multiple use of worship space, necessitates a culture of leadership development, involves laity in essential ways and provides varying venues to connect new people to Jesus.

I would love to reach 3,120 people per week in worship in the next five years but I am convinced we are going to have to get smaller to do it!


Published by Rev. Shane L. Bishop

Senior Pastor of Christ Church, Fairview Heights, IL since 1997. I am an orthodox Christian but I am not in a bad mood about it.

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