The Ideal-Sized Congregation? Try 500!

by | Feb 7, 2012 | Church Leadership, Church Planting, Outreach and Evangelism

Great churches come in a variety of sizes, very large ones, medium-sized ones and smaller ones.

Some are frustrated with the mega church scene in our day for a variety of reasons. It is a mistake to discount the vital role mega churches play in God’s strategy for reaching the world. God has in mind to use mega churches in great ways in our day. Above all else he wants to redeem these churches to do great works of evangelism across America. Done rightly such churches can serve as catalysts for the greater community they find themselves in so that churches of all sizes can gain confidence for evangelism.

I believe the most efficient church size is…500. 
I stated this conclusion several years ago in a book based on the numerous observations made in that book (Making A Good Church Great, Regal, 2010). I am more convinced now than ever that my original hunch was correct.

Ponder this: it would be more productive to produce 10 life-giving churches of 500 in weekend attendance than in building one mega church of 5,000. I believe there is abundant evidence to make the point that the per capita level of spiritual vitality is usually greater at a medium-sized church versus a single mega one. The individual believer will likely evidence greater fruit of discipleship in medium sized churches than in mega ones.

Mega church pastors are called by God to accomplish great things. 
I don’t wish anything ominous upon the shoulders of my mega church brethren, yet it is a fact that to whom much is given much is required. Those who lead very large congregations will stand before God in the not too distant future to give an account of the way they acted as stewards of the provision of God in their time as the leader of an immense congregation with immense resources.

  • How did I do as a teacher? Did I boldly and lovingly present to my people the uncompromising truth of the Gospel? 
  • How did I do as a model? Did I show my people the life of Jesus through my life? 
  • Did we do the work of evangelism? Did we consistently, profoundly seek to bring our city to Jesus? 
  • Were the poor shown an abundance of the mercy of God?

Such questions put the fear of the Lord in me. With this burden of responsibility in mind I don’t miss a day of my time of leading a mega church. I pray mercy upon you if you are a pastor in a congregation of this sort.

If you are a pastor in another size congregation you have it easier in many ways. Pray for mega church pastors near you. I hope you will mutually stir up the “love and good deeds” Scripture calls us to walk in.

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Steve Sjogren

Steve Sjogren has been a part of successfully planting five churches across America and Europe and has successfully deployed eighteen churches. Additionally, Steve has coached dozens of church planters from a broad base of faith groups. His church planting book, Community of Kindness has encouraged and influenced thousands of church plants. He currently coaches planters at various stages in their development. You can reach Steve here. Read More About Steve Sjogren At His Author Page