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In , Kansas governor Johnathan Davis traveled to Hutchinson to dedicate Emerson Carey's new rock salt mine whose shaft provided access to an ancient salt bed feet under the earth's surface. The Carey Salt Mine, advertised as "the most modern in the world," served as a companion to Carey's already-existing evaporation plants. Miners used the newest technology to blast and crush the mineral into gravel and haul it to the surface to provide rock salt for livestock, industries, and roads. Throughout the 20th century, thousands visited Carey's mining operations. Ever since the day Governor Davis presided over the opening ceremony, the Carey Salt Mine has served as a landmark for Hutchinson and helped shape its identity as "the Salt City.
In the early decades of Catholicism, that lack of contemporary accounts bothered at least one clergyman enough to write worriedly about it, but Christians these days just assume that anything that old and universally-accepted must be true. You sound angry discrediting the only document that actually have other proof through family history of Jesus existance. Read the bible again without hate in your heart calling people names.
Let me assist you: the disciples started as 12 and then multiplied. They are know as deacons minister apostles etc. The multitudes were the congregation. Even the Pharisees…say cheese! Also excuse my grammar and spelling. No, he was just gathering crowds at the sea of Galilee and elsewhere. The Jews wanted to get rid of him and they thought they did. Many great artists and musicians were not great during their lifetime.
Ah but History. The Creator and Lord love you. I hope you will eventually, Lee Ann. Leonardo Ramirez, you got it very wrong. Jesus Ministers apostles were 12, that was not the members. In Luke and Luke there were 70 disciples he sent on errand. In 1 Corinthians , Jesus was seen off by brethren. In Mark ; Luke and John , there were he ministered to spiritually and physically. Jesus was not running a congregation, he was running a seminary. Christian leaders: do you want your churches to grow? Just find ways to engage with it that are real, relevant, and do some good and no harm to both members and their community.
People have shown that they respond to that approach. Me, I think most Christians would rather see their religion disintegrate than change anything about their groups and behavior. I used to think there was time for them to right their ship. Not one single survey done in the last 5 years gives them any chance of regaining their onetime effortless dominance of American society.
You mention toxic groups at church. I am not a member of any one church—I attend various churches. I have yet to run into a toxic group at a church, however; your email was very toxic. You will never be free until you realize that. Wow, Leslie, you really did show us exactly what I was talking about. Well done! What did I say that was toxic? I was critical of toxic church culture, and I showed my work.
You just want to shut me down, and you did it by being exactly the kind of hypocrite I talked about.
But you failed. YOU are why your religion is failing. YOU, personally, are a tiny piece of how people know Christianity is false through and through, and bad for humanity as a whole. Instead, Christianity has just given you permission to mistreat others. Where was love in your comment? Where was grace? Freedom does come from within. And from within, we are rejecting your brand of toxic religion. From within, we are choosing a better way. How about freedom is freedom? Bertha, you have no idea in the world what you just said looks like in the real world.
This level of magical thinking would be comical, except you clearly think you said something profound. I know one interesting method of earning money, I think you will like it. Captian Cassidy: You have the traits if a Very Toxic individual.
Your email reflected the following: 1. I have often struggled with the idea of how much do we depend on the spiritual and how much on strategy. My personal observation over the years is leadership that is not strategic usually fails. In my experience the spiritually based leaders that also use strategy are able to reach more for Christ.
I wonder how many of the negative commenters in this thread have ever significantly grown at church in present times. Todd, I was a no one before I met you. A plain Jane that no one would take a second glance at. Since requesting you cast the public attraction love spell I have had more dates in the past month than I have in my entire life! You are a miracle worker! I have actually had guys stop me on the street to ask me to grab a cup of coffee with them. I could not have asked for anything more. I am having a great time and having fun! E-mail:manifestspellcast gmail.
Hello blogger, i must say you have high quality articles here. Your website can go viral. You need initial traffic boost only. How to get it? That is a big one!! I would suggest that you are leaving out a HUGE aspect as to why many go mega churches not all but many …to hide or even get self serving needs met.
Look at the crowds that followed Jesus. Most of them followed him for health and food.
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They can just punch their attendance cards and go home. I propose small churches consist mostly of people who put their hands to the plow. Most arent there to punch cards and meet selfish needs from self serving programs but are there to work and serve the Lord. People can move from one group to another if they want. Some will grow, others will shrink. It challenges each group to perform. He was teaching his disciples a duplicatable system that should reach the entire earth by the time he is ready to return.
These in turn were to teach others and so on as the group grew exponentially. Sometimes a thousand people were saved because one person was healed. The system broke down somewhere between — AD at least during the reign of Constantine who made it a state religion and built churches, and only returned relatively recently. Pagans filled this new church and the Holy Spirit left. From such stay away.
Healings also confirm the message spoken according to the Bible. If Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in us, we already have the healer. If Jesus took our sicknesses on himself, we are already healed, we just need to have the faith to manifest it. That is what the Bible teaches, and if we ignor it, we do so at our own peril, we die early.
It only costs a couple of bucks but it will help to build any church because there will be new converts. There is nothing like proof to dispel doubt and change lives. When I was in seminary, we were taught that, when your congregation reached , it was time to split into 2 churches to better serve the community. I thought it was a good idea. One of the dirty secrets of church growth I found in a footnote of a national church paper on growth.
Churches tend to grow in communities that are growing and tend to shrink in communities that are shrinking! If you are leading a church in a small town that a lot of people especially young people are leaving, you can do everything right and still see your church get smaller. Another dirty secret is that churchgoers self-select for size. Some people want a small church and will leave if it gets larger. Some people want a medium-sized church and some want to go to a megachurch. Though few people will admit aloud to not wanting their church to grow, they might find their family-sized church comfortable and not really want it to change.
All of these things are relevant, but only for churches in a certain context and demographic area. Yeah, I really like the part in scripture where the megachurch would gather in a house and really share the spirit and word. This issue has been widely researched, using a variety of different instruments, for many years. I recall that my alma mater once did such a study, only to discover that the vast majority of their alums pastored churches of or less. This term refers to the factg that our brains have limited capacity for certain kinds of information. When we examine channel capacity from the lens of social psychology we discover that when networks grow beyond our capacity to maintian social connections, we begin to feel estranged.
In other words — there is a human limit to how large our social networks, including our churches, can become. The magic number seems to be about people in our network. Now, in response to this blog post — which is quite good — I would add that the FIRST and PRIMARY reason why churches top out at or less than is that the pastor fails to understand this fundamental feature of human cognitive and social psychology and adapt to it. Number 2 is gold. As always, keep writing! Carey — great stuff and the podcast is amazing.
Recently you and Brian Wangler mentioned a Reggie Joiner sermon using shopping carts. Anyway you can link me up to this? All in a small town of about 2, people. I have to say the suggestions Carey makes are exactly right, if you want to see your church grow you have to be willing to make some changes. Carey, I just heard you speak at the Activate Conference and really enjoyed it. Can you break down the strategy piece a little? What is your strategy? Have you written some posts on it? I know you use Deep and Wide, but can you give an example of some of your strategy?
I pastor a church in academia, near to Harvard called Journey Church. We are clear on our mission and vision and somewhat clear on strategy but this is the piece I could use the most help on. Thank you Carey.
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Thank you for always sharing. You just covered chapter of my book for me. Great Essay. What is most interesting and telling, is this compulsion to bring other people into your delusional fantasy world. The poor deluded Christians never stop trying to effect change with their incantations…er, I mean prayers. Right on. Obviously in some small communities there are churches under I was very involved in many activities and in leadership roles at our church. In the past two years I have witnessed much of what you recommend in this article executed at our church. Some of this shift also has to do with my perception of your general approach, which I suspect has been utilized nearly point-for-point at our church.
This formula can be seen as very cynical and corporate-like numbers crunching. Furthermore, some may become disenfranchised not just with their current church, but with organized religion as a whole, which is where I feel I am now. And those numbers represent real people on a journey together, and who experience ups and downs. Just one perspective.
I actually lives through these principles and led a church through change. Many stayed with it throughout. Many more people are in a relationship with Jesus because of it. This is not a cynical ploy to manipulate people. He wants some solid scripture to back it up. A member church, among dozens of other member churches in a community of less than 4, is NOT a dying church. The article sounds more like someone from Hollywood trying to make his MBA degree look good than someone from a religious seminary.
Not one single aspect of the article was Biblically based or even supported. I may well be wrong…but please show us the scripture proving that America has been doing its rural and suburban churches wrong all these years. Every time churches listen to this non-Bibically based nonsense, they celebrate their 14 new big screen TVs while another food and medicine distribution program bites the dust.
So many communities are suffering because a new wave of young ministers are isolating themselves from these ecumenical groups and trying to duplicate or compete with programs that already exist in the small community 20 churches fighting over members in a town with only 3, people in it.
I do recall Christ teaching the early disciples of his church how to witness, share, and spread the news the news to be spread is pretty well covered in the New Testament. Your reply is well-thought out and I enjoyed reading it. The advice is for churches that do have a problem or soon will, and they know it. I agree with the thesis of the article itself, and I think Carey only has the best intentions with the article. In hindsight however, I realized most of my Amens were more about practical, business, and political matters than spiritual and theological ones.
My Amens were mostly wishful thinking that humans and their communities would be easier to manage into my personal world view.
8 Reasons Most Churches Never Break the 200 Attendance Mark
What drew my tangent is the way those with questions or warnings for organizational experts are handled. Well…if someone misinterprets, or finds a hole…plug it with solid scripture! Fault finders in and outside of a church do have a purpose. That form of comment fielding deflecting back to the commenter and taking a self defense stance made me re-read the article a number of times, searching for what ever it was that seemed to bothering GenXer. I do understand that pastors do not have the time and stamina to dig through their Bible and convince every single nay-sayer in person.
Much of Urban Canada would be considered the same. It fits where he is, it fits where I am, it fits where many of his readers are. I do not think Carey is targeting communities of 10, people with 50 churches of people like you see in many areas of the South East US. This is not about killing various small churches to build one big one. It is about organizing ourselves in a way so that we do not hinder the expansion of the gospel. We know this, or at least we should. Disciples are being made.
People are being saved. Lives are being transformed. God is being glorified. Greetings to you in mighty name above all other names Jesus Christ. Im very much happy to write to since i have went through your website and have seen great work on which you are doing by the grace of God to spread the true gospel. Am pastor Wilfred Kerosi from East Africa Kenya of Ribate fellowship christian church with 63 members ,55 Children whereby 34 among the children are poor orphans under my care.
I hereby request for affiliation to partner with you in spreading the true gospel of which you are doing as the say that ; go to all nation and preach the gospel to every creature on earth. Hey Carey, as a lay person volunteering at a church, why do you think there is so much push back against being strategic or changing structure based on comments on this post? Hello Carey, My question is a little different. When dealing with volunteers and paid worker in the church, is it a good idea to give them equal treatments? We are in the process of ordaining some faithful volunteers and someone brings a suggestion that one of the paid workers should also be ordained.
My stand on the issue is that this may discourage the faithful volunteers, seeing that some are being paid and more so they are coded differently under the Fair Labor Act. Ummm, ordination and pay are two different areas of church decision-making. The administrators get paid per month as well as the worship pastor. This is what we can afford. Everyone else is a volunteer. Four of the volunteers are being made deacons — two are being considered for the eldership.
This is up to the discretion of the elders and church council. That is sad that someone getting paid by the church expects to hold an ordained role as well. Other than that…like I said, an accountant — or a tech guy or the janitor — you may pay them, but ordination should only be a serious thought by the eldership and the church council. They should not be two conflated categories. But you probably already knew that. Many people in these churches ALSO have an MBA or higher…and have run businesses and organizations since long before the minister was born.
That is where the pastor is supposed to have the upper hand when it comes to organizational strategy and leadership. It makes you look foolish and naive. I have been a full time pastor at two different churches over the past ten years. The first church I was at had an organizational structure much like you just described. The pastors were subject to a board and most any new ideas were placed on the table for discussion, and then simply tabled for months, sometimes years on end.
Some would say that this was wisdom the elder board was made up of men with more degrees than California in the summer, and most of them were at least 55 or older. We got very little accomplished and saw very few come to Christ because the status quo remained as such and the young pastors with less education and less wordly experience as you called it were told to simply wait. The problem I have with your assertion is that it completely flies in the face of the New Testament church that I see in scripture.
The disciples were young men who had been called by Jesus to be a part of his mission. They were mostly uneducated men who went out with the Spirit of God and started a movement with the Gospel that would change the world. So…are you multilingual? If not…. Get out and meet Christians who speak the language and will assist you in ministering to them. Are you equipped and prepared to deal with this? They each set out into the world to minister to these different cultures in very unique ways.
Get to know as many pastors in your area as you can! Communicate with your area ministers on a regular basis, and serve your community as a strategic group front. If you find a Hispanic family that needs a Christian ministry…. If there are no churches in the area that can minister in Spanish, then it makes rock solid sense to push your own to start building programs for them. Set the example, show some success, gradually introduce the new culture to your old church and THEN start asking for more support.
If there are already 3 churches in your county that are well equipped to minister in Spanish, then it makes the most sense to call one of those pastors and send the family to him. In short…. There are many different sizes and types of Church models for a reason. Each one serves a purpose in an ever changing fabric of humanity. God wants it that way. Churches do change every single day as the balance and makeup of the population shifts.
Stop asking old churches full of members who have already raised their kids to try to act like what they are NOT…a church full of 30 somethings raising kids. Understand your community, and use its currents to your advantage. The sad truth is that the older people controlling out of balance churches generational balance eventually will pass on, and their homes will be sold to a younger generation and in many cases even a radically different CULTURE. At that point…. Take your time…because it took generations for them to build it all….
Instead of over-fighting it…look at the tools they have for very different, but equally important types of missions. You can drive yourself crazy trying to fight the Cycles of God…. You seem to be arguing for 1 for reasons that quite simply I disagree with vehemently and saying that the only other option is 2. Our church is multi-generational and we have seen over two hundred people go from having nothing to do with God or church to responding to the Gospel and trusting in Christ for salvation and new life over the past 6 years For His glory, not ours.
Why is this happening? Because our leadership made the decision to stop catering to comfort and challenge our people to get on board with the mission of the Church. Sadly, we lost quite a few people. We are called to go and make disciples. You said at the end that not every church is geared to be an evangelical power house….. Again, not certain what you mean. Every church should foundationally be about the Gospel and making that Gospel known to as many as possible in their community.
Just to play out an extreme: If every person in that community is reached which i would venture to say happens extremely rarely , then begin brainstorming other ways to reach even farther small church plant etc… , but never get off the boat of our mission. What do you think a church is supposed to look and act like? Because I believe a church is a community of people tied together in the Gospel on mission to make that Gospel known to any and everyone. Make changes necessary to be a part of that mission. A dying church is simply that: dying. How is that a radical change that requires board approval and strong arming changes in congregational leadership?
I still maintain that just because a church has fewer than does NOT mean it is dieing. I know of quite a few that have NEVER had more than memebers, but have been going strong for nearly years. I can think of a pocket of about 12 of them in Texas that have put air bus hospitals in every international disaster zone with missionaries since Built dozens of home for people in need. They simply do a different kind of outreach and mission…….
Some of us are NOT cut out to witness face to face, and do far more damage than good when sharing our walks with Christ with others. Some of us are much better equipped to play supporting roles. Some of us are better at quietly providing Bibles, homes, and refuges for worship. Very long deflection and refusal to own a simple problem. I simply refuse to agree with you that a church should sit and get stagnant. This will be my last response as it seems you have dug your feet pretty deep into your defense and it is not a good use of my time to continue the conversation.
Every Christian is called to be a minister and an evangelist…. Not sure why you disagree with that either. I never disagreed to your PS. I just happen to believe that there are many missions and styles that contribute to that purpose. A youth group 4 from a 50 member church can pass out 4, Bibles in Guatemala and not grow a single member back home. Some churches have big programs to help the elderly and infirmed, as well as the incarcerated. The goal is to foster and create opportunities for people to know about the Word of God and come to know Christ. Pushing a church to grow past is not really superior to doing ecumenical missions that have a very high probability of helping different churches grow by 2.
What I have thought over the years is a lack of strategic planning when it comes to hiring the next person. I believe it needs to be a generalist. Someone who can work in several areas at once. Back in the day the second position would be a youth pastor. The church would grow by another 75 people, but not enough to add a third staff member and continue to grow. It couls be just that simple as well. Yours are all noteworthy and true Carey. Just throwing in another factor in my opinion. Blessings, Dave. Great question. I think it often has to do with the entire community the church serves.
What are the demographics of the area? Some areas might be terribly undeserved in every respect, and any direction you go can lead to growth. Some areas might be very culturally segregated by race, economic class, etc. Is your intent to go with the flow, or do something different and less segregated? I could go on hours with things to consider. When you realize the challenges and opportunities of the entire community, it can shine a light on the type of ministers and pastors to seek out and hire. What I mean is his people repenting of their sin, humbling themselves before him, and having him raise them up.
It is grace from top to bottom. And when his people humble themselves, repent and seek the Lord, he blesses. Isaiah 58 is a great example of what I am talking about. And yet, God tells them why he does not answer them, hear them, or acknowledge what they are doing. He says in v. But if they would repent of these things, this is what he promised he would do for them in v. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched place and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. Now that is what the church needs! And that is what would cause the church to explode in America. And once he does, we will have to apply all this stuff just to minister to the multitudes who are being transformed by his grace! Dean…you are so right. The basis for all true growth in the Kingdom is reliance on God. With it, you have the foundation on which to apply the skill that often makes our effectiveness greater.
Thank you! Ephesians Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. We should be raising up other pastors to help with the work of the Lord. One main thing we should be doing is discipling, to many think the church is a one man show, the body is made up of many parts and each has its purpose. So the alternative is to raise up other pastors to help with the ministry. Laypersons can be trained to do many other jobs, but there are limits.
If these small churches raise up other pastors, which often they do, then these new pastors are called to serve other congregations, fulfilling the Great Commission. The church I currently attend has three pastors. All of them preach, though their qualifications can be labeled in ascending order. The second eldest one has several masters degrees.
Many in the congregation consider him the best preacher though he has stepped aside to let the youngest pastor preach 3 Sundays a month. These are the dynamics in the pulpit, not to mention the behind the scenes with church planning, decision making, and accountability and prayer partners.
They also split their time meeting one-on-one with the different families in the church. They can do a lot and still have time to be with their families, which is a benefit to having responsible brothers right along side of them. The requirements for doing funerals vary widely from state to state. In some states, literally anybody can officiate a wedding.
The link did not work. What is the book? Sorry Gary. The link still works on my end. Gary…thanks for the Tim Keller reference. I had heard about it but never read it. So good! How would prayer not fix all these things? Violence in the streets rough. If that were true, I could probably, by faith, have Lamentations and Numbers memorized! A lot of people want to be a servant to the Most High God. I get the feeling a lot of the time Paul and the other Apostles looked like fools to their followers.
Always having to take the low road and look weak. I never thought before I became a Christian that credibility with the world was earned with a flogging stick or actual chains. Not fuzzy diamond lined bracelets but actual chains. Good stuff. I especially resonate with empowering volunteers. Hi Carey, thanks so much for this article.
I definitely agree with your first 4 points so much! It was a bit disheartening to learn over the years that no matter the suggestions or desires from the congregation and even the volunteer experience and leadership some had, they were not used or else it was too late like 5 years later for something to come forth from it.
BOTH are needed. I flip-flop between wanting to go to a church that is a smaller community both on Sunday and every other day of the week, to a large church that I can disappear in and not volunteer ever again. For 5, we had the opposite problem, which is why I felt the need to pull away. And as someone mentioned below, I definitely miss the salvation message being preached. Although small, do you think these churches still need it in some way?
Thanks for this Alyssa…I appreciate your perceptive and empathize with your frustration. As to the Gospel message. I enjoyed your article. The you for sharing it. I would like to add, though, that some of this could be attributed to resource constraints, both financial, and lack of skills and knowledge. What if we turned this problem around and looked at it from a different angle?