Monday, June 23, 2008
What is the perfect size for a church?
What is the perfect size for a church? Over how many people can a pastor truly keep watch? Where might we look for Biblical guidance?
After the ascension, the nucleus of the Jerusalem church consisted of 120 names (Acts 1:15), though many more were soon added (see Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4). We must be careful of setting up the expansion of the Jerusalem church in the apostolic era as the norm for contemporary church growth. Yet what of the initial number? Is this an ideal?
When Jesus told the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7) he spoke in terms of a shepherd set over a hundred sheep who leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one stray. Is one hundred implied as an ideal number for the flock? After all, he could have spoken of leaving the 199 or the 499 or the 999 or the 9,999.
How about 100-120 souls as an ideal? Not too few so as to be insular and parochial. Not too many so that members can fall through the cracks or remain anonymous. Enough people so that if they truly give, a full time Pastor can be supported and kindgom work can be done.