Just updated the site to list some books I’m reading, have read and will read. Check out the list to find something you might like.
Most recently I finished The Myth of the 200 Barrier. It was an interesting read from Kevin Martin who works with Episcopal churches in Texas now and has consulted on church development with churches across the U.S., mostly in the mainline denominations. He was greatly influenced by Lyle Schaller who is a prolific writer and speaker on church growth.
The basic premise of Martin’s book was that churches that want to grow from through the 200 barrier, a term with which he has issues, must change their culture from that of a “pastoral” church to a more “program oriented” church. The transition between these is the space between about 140 average attendance and 225 attendance. The transition time is one of the most difficult and stressful on a church. The stresses occur on pastor, staff, volunteers and church members. Because of a new paradigm of doing church that must occur, there are challenges to change. The pastor and staff must relate differently to the church and the church must relate differently to the staff and especially to one another.
Of course, some don’t like these changes. They are comfortable in the smaller setting, that may be why they joined the church in the first place. Others like things they way they are because that is how they relate and how they validate themselves. This is especially true for pastor and staff. To change the way pastoring happens can be hard for the pastor as well as the people.
While there were many things in the book that showed the mainline experience of Martin and were not relevant in a Southern Baptist church, many of the principles were true and applied to the ministry here. It was somewhat of a confirmation to me of my previous post about the difficulties I see ahead this year.