What Difference Does Church Size Make in Discipling Men? Part 2
In the last Weekly Briefing we learned that 70% of Protestant churches have 125 or fewer in attendance. I did some guesswork on how many people might be represented in each of Lyle Schaller’s seven categories. Basically, I hypothesized an average number of attendees for each category (usually by picking the midpoint), then multiplied by the number of churches. The results, far from scientific, are nonetheless quite interesting:
- 50,000 churches averaging 20 worshipers = 1,000,000 people
- 40,000 churches averaging 37 worshipers = 1,480,000 people
- 110,000 churches averaging 75 worshipers = 8,250,000 people
- 25,000 churches averaging 113 worshipers = 2,825,000 people
- 75,000 mid-sized churches averaging 250 worshipers = 18,750,000 people
- 18,000 large churches averaging 575 worshipers = 10,350,000 people
- 7,000 churches averaging 2,000 worshipers = 14,000,000 people
So, yes, 70% of all churches have 125 or fewer attendees. However, of the 56,655,000 people I just estimated, only 13,555,000 are in congregations of 125 or less.
This means that the smallest 70% of churches have 24% of total church attendance, while the largest 30% of churches have 76% of total church attendance. While not meant to be statistically accurate, these numbers do allow us to scale the problem/opportunity.
To summarize: A full one-fourth of the men who attend church do so at a smaller church.
Conclusion: Any major movement to disciple men should somehow have strategies to help leaders in smaller churches disciple their men. If not, we’re missing ¼ of the “market.”
- For those of you who are in smaller churches, what are the relevant characteristics of smaller churches, and the implications of those characteristics on discipling men? (e.g., bi-vocational pastor)
- For those of us in discipleship ministries, what are you already doing or can you do to help small church leaders be more effective in discipling their men?
Several of you wrote to comment from last week and we have communicated. Again, thank you. If you would like to join the dialogue reply to this email with answers to either or both of the bulleted questions, and I will post some of these thoughts.
CHALLENGE: Let’s think more deeply about how to resource leaders in smaller churches who have the passion to disciple men.
For scaling purposes and not statistical accuracy
Issue: bi-vocational pastor
Greetings Good People at Man in The Mirror,
Thank you for the fine work you folks are doing. I was especially enthralled with this latest direction, most churches being 125 or fewer.
As coordinator of small groups for The Reformed Church of Bushkill in NE Pennsylvania, starting from scratch in January of this year, I have come to realize that good programs require good planning and vision casting. I have been accused on occasion of perhaps not being relevant in that much of my model for small group ministry has been taken from mega church Willow Creek. When I point out the fact that even in a church the size of Willow Creek, small groups become less effective if they go over 10 members for any length of time, folks seem to get it. So it is with the men in churches of any size. Proportionally, it is likely that most of us have the same opportunity and certainly the same responsibility to show men why little else matters if they choose not to serve God and experience His unconditional love.
The gender issue is not as critical as we sometimes think. Although recognizing the difference in role expectations is important, the basic need to know someone truly cares about you is the necessary element. The starting point has to be caring enough to bring Christ’s light into lives, some of which have been deeply darkened by the world. There are plenty of men, in all church communities, who need to know someone cares. Bless you for your efforts to help us do that.
Coordinator of Small Groups
The Reformed Church of Bushkill
His and yours,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.
Of the 113,00,000 men 15 and older, 10,600,000 were 15 – 19 years of age, and 10,800,000 were 20 – 24 years of age. The number of men 20 – 21 years of age were estimated from Census Bureau totals. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/tables/06s0011.xls , retrieved September 29, 2006.