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The Myth of the 200 Barrier: How to Lead Through Transitional Growth
Abingdon Press / 2005 / Paperback
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Finding it hard to grow your small fellowship into a larger one? Martin says that there's no real "attendance barrier" to break, just alternative ways of being a church. He helps you understand the cultural and practical differences between "pastoral"- and "program"-sized congregations---and shows you how to transition from one to the other. 135 pages, softcover from Abingdon.
"This is the best book I have ever read on congregational development! I wish I had written it." (Lyle E. Schaller, Parish Consultant)
The common experience of large congregations getting larger and small congregations getting smaller has given rise to the belief that growing congregations tend to hit a barrier at the 150-200 attendance mark. The dividing line in American Church attendance is 150 people on an average Sunday. Churches below this seem to have a harder time growing. Above this, churches seem to have an easier time growing. Trying to grow a smaller church can feel like trying to break through what Martin calls the 200 barrier. Martin explains that there is no barrier; there are just two different ways of being a churchthe Pastoral Size church and the Program church. The Transitional Church is really a hybrid of these two cultures, and this dual nature produces stress and tension where the idea of a 200 barrier often becomes a self-fulfilling expectation.
The Rev. Kevin Martin serves as Assistant Priest for Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, TX, and is also the Executive Director of Vital Church Ministries whose mission is to encourage and equip church leaders to fulfill the Great Commission. He is a well-known preacher, teacher, author, and consultant throughout the nationwide Episcopal community.
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