CHURCH PLANTING & “Multiplying Church,” “Reproducing Church” and “Planted Church” defined & compared. #Stetzer #Bird #Bennardo

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/30/19.

Terms describing “church multiplication” are tossed around with such frequency, that leaders are often confused about how to differentiate a planted church, a reproducing church and a multiplying church.

The best definition for a “multiplying church” comes from my friends Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird in their book “Viral Churches.”

A “multiplying church:”

A church multiplication movement is a rapid reproduction rate of 50% through the third generation of churches, with new churches having 50% new converts. To achieve such momentum, churches would need to plant, on average, a new church every two years with each church reaching at least half its attendees from the unchurched community.”

Stetzer and Bird, Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers (San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010), p. 116.

A “reproducing church” would be, by definition and comparison, a congregation that is planting daughter congregations, but not with the frequency of a “multiplying church.”

A “planted church” would, by definition, be a church that has been nurtured by a mother congregation.

A “venue/campus church” shares some commonalities and dissimilarities with a “planted church” and you can read a comparison here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/multiplication-5-reasons-churches-should-balance-their-internal-external-church-planting/

Tom Bennardo in his excellent book, “The Honest Guide to Church Planting (Zondervan, 2019, p. 119) sums up the differences:

Good      Planting a Church

Better    Planting a Reproducing Church

Best       Planting a Multiplying Church

I’ve listed further resources for church planting here: https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/church-planting-cost-effective-alternatives-to-the-customary-planting-strategies/

And this is how my colleague C. Peter Wagner is often misquoted about church planting (and what he really meant): https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/church-planting-why-an-emphasis-upon-conversion-is-the-best-way-to-grow-the-church-petewagner/

MEGACHURCH & Demographics of the Typical Mega-congregation

by Morgan Lee, How 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money, Christianity Today, 11/12/14.

According to the 2014 edition of the Large Church Salary Report

  • the typical large American church (1,000 to 7,000 members)
  • was founded in 1977,
  • seats 800 worshipers,
  • and offers five weekly services at two campuses.
  • The church’s 52-year-old senior pastor was hired in 2005,
  • it employs 25 staff members,
  • and attendance has been recently growing 7 percent per year.

And check out the Leadership Network’s research on megachurches here …
http://leadnet.org/leadership-networkvanderbloemen-2014-large-church-salary-report/

FINANCES & How Much Should Be Spent on Staff Salaries? Research Tells Us.

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 11/6/15.

A common question I receive is, “How much of a church’s budget should be spent on staff salaries?” And, my friend and colleague Warren Bird of Leadership Network has done some remarkable and helpful work on this.

His insights can be found here: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100408/survey-explores-churches-with-lean-staff-costs/index.html

This research was created to start some discussion on percentages of budgets that go to staffing. And, the survey noted that often churches with leaner staff tend to me more missional in orientation (e.g. with more lay people involved in ministry).

MULTISITE & Campus Pastor as Key to Multisite Success #LeadershipNetwork #WarrenBird

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: A multi-campus or multi-site approach creates an “economy of scale” that can better fund and support church multiplication. I call this the “Alliance Model of Church Multiplication,” which especially lends itself to growing multi-ethnic and multi-cultural churches. However more important than the lead pastor in this strategy, is the campus pastor who will indigenize the church’s ministry to the local context. See this helpful report with sample job descriptions by my friend Warren Bird. It examines what makes a good campus pastor and why selecting them is even more important than selecting locations for church multiplication strategies.

campus-pastors_20150928184243_1443465763993_block_9

by Warren Bird, Leadership Network, 10/8/15.

One of the most-asked questions from multisite churches is, “What should we look for in a campus pastor?” or more specifically “What are some of the best campus pastor job descriptions that we could adapt?”

This mini-report, drawing from a recent Leadership Network survey of campus pastors, tries to address just that. It shows the relationship between what a campus pastor does, and how those emphases impact the job description. The final part of the report reprints a number of actual job descriptions for a campus pastor (and offers a way to obtain even more examples)…

Download the report here … http://leadnet.org/campus-pastor-as-key-to-multisite-success/

MEGACHURCHES & 9 Fascinating Facts About People Who Attend Megachurches

by Warren Bird, LeadNet, 8/2/15.

…But what about the people who attend really big churches? Fellow researcher Scott Thumma and I surveyed some 25,000 of them, with some fascinating discoveries:

1. Nearly two-thirds of attenders have been at these churches 5 years or less.
2. Many attenders come from other churches, but nearly a quarter haven’t been in any church for a long time before coming to a megachurch.
3. New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them.
4. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches).
5. What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation, in that order.
6. These same factors also influenced long-term attendance, as did the music/arts, social and community outreach, and adult-oriented programs.
7. Attenders report a considerable increase in their involvement in church, in their spiritual growth, and in their needs being met.
8. Attenders can craft unique, customized spiritual experiences through the multitude of ministry choices and diverse avenues for involvement that megachurches offer.
9. In many ways, large churches today are making good progress in reaching people and moving them from spectators to active participants to growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

For more interesting facts about people who attend megachurches, download the free report Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches.

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/9-fascinating-facts-about-people-who-attend-megachurches/

QUOTES & John Wesley’s Quote of War (as evidence of original sin)

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  This is an ongoing series of quotes from the Wesleyan Movement with citations to the original sources.

Here are forty thousand men gathered together on this plain. What they going to do? See, there are thirty or forty thousand more at a great distance. And these are going to shoot them through the head or body, to stab them, or split their skulls, and send most of their souls into everlasting fire, as fast as they possibly can. Why so? What harm have they done to them? O, none at all! They do not so much as know them. But a man, who is king of France has a quarrel with another man, who is king of England. So these Frenchmen are to kill as many of these Englishmen as they can, to prove the king of France is in the right. Now, what an argument is this? What a method of proof? What an amazing way of deciding controversies! What must mankind be, before such a thing as war could ever be known or thought of upon earth? How shocking, how inconceivable a want must there have been of common understanding, as well as common humanity, before any two governors, or any two nations in the universe could once think of such a method of decision! If then, all nations, Pagan, Mohammedan, and Christian, do, in fact, make this their last resort, what farther proof of do we need of the utter degeneracy of all nations from the plainest principles of reason and virtue? Of the absolute want, both of common sense and common humanity, which runs through the whole race of mankind?

Works (Jackson) 9:221 The Doctrine of Original Sin (part 1)

For more such quotes see: The United Methodist Church General Board of Church & Society, http://www.kintera.org/site/c.frLJK2PKLqF/b.4452011/k.7E8E/Quotations_by_John_Wesley.htm

INNOVATION & These Churches Influence You More than You Realize! #LeadershipNetwork

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Two of my research colleagues, Dr.s Elmer Towns and Warren Bird have just released an interview discussing innovative churches of the 20th Century and how they have impacted how we do ministry today. Dr. Towns has been a mentor to both myself and Warren, and I think you will glean historical insights from this interview.

Watch the video interview here … https://youtu.be/xnT8nha9v74

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/these-churches-influence-you-more-than-you-realize/

MEGACHURCHES & 9 Fascinating Facts About People Who Attend Megachurches

by Warren Bird, LeadNet, 8/2/15.

…But what about the people who attend really big churches? Fellow researcher Scott Thumma and I surveyed some 25,000 of them, with some fascinating discoveries:

  1. Nearly two-thirds of attenders have been at these churches 5 years or less.
  2. Many attenders come from other churches, but nearly a quarter haven’t been in any church for a long time before coming to a megachurch.
  3. New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or coworkers invited them.
  4. Fifty-five percent of megachurch attenders volunteer at the church in some way (a higher percentage than in smaller churches).
  5. What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation, in that order.
  6. These same factors also influenced long-term attendance, as did the music/arts, social and community outreach, and adult-oriented programs.
  7. Attenders report a considerable increase in their involvement in church, in their spiritual growth, and in their needs being met.
  8. Attenders can craft unique, customized spiritual experiences through the multitude of ministry choices and diverse avenues for involvement that megachurches offer.
  9. In many ways, large churches today are making good progress in reaching people and moving them from spectators to active participants to growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

For more interesting facts about people who attend megachurches, download the free report Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches.

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/9-fascinating-facts-about-people-who-attend-megachurches/

DEMOGRAPHIC CHURCH & How a Church Changed to Match Its Neighborhood

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “In my book ‘Cure for the Common Church’ I advocate growing more ‘geographic churches,’ i.e. churches whose ethnicity changes to mirror the community’s ethnic changes. I’ve witnessed this at Kentwood Community Church (MI) lead by colleagues Wayne Schmidt and now Kyle Ray. Read this article by my friend Warren Bird for another helpful example of how to grow a ‘geographic church’. Then check out my book with Mark DeYmaz for even more examples.”

By Warren Bird, LeadNet, 8/2/15.

Patrick Kelley has a dream—what he calls his “delusion of grandeur” for churches—that one day, ethnic diversity will be the norm in American congregations, and that Senior Pastor Patrick Kelleyfollowers of Christ will erase what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “most segregated hour in Christian America.”

“It’s been 50 years since Dr. King said that,” says Patrick, senior pastor of River Pointe Church in the Houston area. “It’s still just the beginning, but I think we’re living in this post-segregation age where people aren’t just looking for the black church, the white church, or the Hispanic church. I think they’re looking for an effective church where they meet Christ and get help for their spiritual needs.”

PHOTO AT LEFT: Patrick started asking if he is “too white” in an ad campaign for River Pointe Church — and it’s working. The church continues to grow more and become more diverse. See also this .

Patrick is seeing his dream come true at River Pointe, a multisite church of 5,000 people located in one of the most ethnically diverse counties (Fort Bend County, TX) in the United States.

But River Pointe is in the small minority of U.S. churches—only 8%—that are considered multiethnic (although the larger the attendance, the moremultiethnic it is likely to be, according to research by Michael Emerson). While most churches in America are comprised of 80% of people being from one race, only 68% of River Pointe is white, and the rest is a multiethnic mix.

“People have said that our county is what America will look like in 50 years—or less,” says Patrick. “The church is going to have to figure out how to reach a population that looks like that. And it’s not just predominantly white churches that need this transition.”

Diversity Wasn’t the Goal

Patrick certainly didn’t start out to build one of the most ethnically diverse churches in the country when he moved to Houston 18 years ago—and he wouldn’t suggest that any church make that its goal.

“This community is integrated–no black section, white section or Latino section,” he says. “Yet there was not a church that was multiracial, including ours. I didn’t come to start a racially diverse church, but that’s the neighborhood we need to reach. If we can’t do it here in this country, I’m just not sure it can be done.

“It’s not a goal of River Pointe to be diverse, but to help all people groups find a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. We have to figure out how to be all things to all men in order to win some.”

Patrick admits it had to start with him. It started innocently enough, with the Kelley children developing friendships with kids of varied ethnicities. “It’s funny how kids don’t see color, isn’t it? I looked at my own life and realized, all my friends are lily white,” Patrick says. “That had to change.”

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/how-a-church-changed-to-match-its-neighborhood/

MULTIPLICATION & Now More Than 8,000 Multisite Churches

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “Before it was popular, I was championing a multi-site church growth strategy almost 30 years ago. I noticed that they had a higher survivability rate than church pants, were fiscally healthier because they shared their assets and had better leadership mentoring and development. This trend, which I begin advocating in my first book (now 12 books later) is an effective strategy for church leaders of growing churches to consider. Check out this latest research from my colleague Warren Bird then also check out my “4 Models of Multi-site Churches Evaluated & Appraised” in a Great Commission Research Journal article or my book “The Healthy Church.”

by Warren Bird, LeadNet, 8/1/15.

multisite map

The latest multisite research affirms that the growth of “one church meeting in two or more locations under one overall leadership and budget” shows no signs of slowing down. Yet even as the movement continues to expand, many significant themes are developing in how churches do multisite.

Overall the news is optimistic: Multisite churches grow faster, have more lay participation and reach more new believers than single-site churches.

These findings are featured in the Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard, a major report releasing in March, which draws from a huge Leadership Network survey and is also supplemented by two other major studies. Key points will be forecast over the next several issues of this publication.

Impact of Multisite – By Broadest Definition

• 5 million – the number of people who worshipped at a multisite church last weekend in the United States alone, according to the National Congregations Study sponsored by Duke University

• 8,000 – the number of multisite churches currently found in the United States, according to the same study. (The wording of that survey allowed churches to call themselves multisite if they had multiple venues–such as services in the sanctuary, chapel and gym, but all on one campus.)

• 9% – the percent of all Protestant churchgoers who attend a multisite church

• 3% – the percent of all Protestant churches that are multisite

• 80% – the percentage of US states that have known multisite churches. Over 40 have known multisite churches, as do Washington D.C., Canada’s 9 largest provinces, and several dozen other countries, all according to Leadership Network’s database and its list of global megachurches.

Multisite as Door Opener

Multisite has opened new doors for leaders such as those at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC.

A member of one of Summit’s six locations was serving a needy family in a neighboring city. As the relationship developed and the person being helped expressed an interest in attending church, the Summit member was able to connect them to a Summit campus closer to home.

“It was a good example of one church reaching out across a larger metropolitan area to meet needs,” says David Tran, one the Summit’s pastors. “Our congregation really gets the vision of the church to be a Gospel-centered community that is here to reach people and bless our city.”

J.D. Greear, Senior Pastor, adds, “We can bless people when we are closer to them. That’s why we plant campuses—to bring the ministry closer to home. The entire church gets excited about it and gets behind it,” he concludes…

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/now-more-than-8000-multisite-churches/

EMPLOYEES & Performance Incentives Fuel Church Staff to Stronger Results

by Warren Bird, LeadNet, 7/29/15.

Pastor Will Rambo could only imagine all the negatives that would come from implementing a performance bonus structure for the staff of The Orchard in Tupelo, MS, where Bryan Collier is the lead and founding pastor.“My first reaction was this is far too secular, too corporate and too businesslike,” Will says of the performance incentive plan. “I went into this pushing back hard.”

If the new goal-setting process and accompanying financial incentives weren’t handled well, Will could picture a church staff splintering and competing against each other, with a drive to get things done all for the sake of landing a bonus.

“I feared responses like people saying, ‘So will I get paid $5 per baptism?’ Will says, “or someone saying, ‘I need you to hurry up and do this so that I’ll get a bonus at year’s end.’ ”

Better Than Expected

Now, two years into the process, Will can gladly say his worst fears have not been realized. The 16-year old congregation has a church staff that is more engaged than ever, and is reaping the rewards of accomplishing even more together than any of them could have imagined.

“For years we’ve set goals, but they lacked follow-through,” says Will, also a senior pastor at one of the church’s five locations. “In this new approach, we moved to grander goals and dreams, those that require cross-departmental cooperation. We’re doing fewer things, but larger—a philosophy of less is more.

“Our staff is at the healthiest place they’ve been in our 16 years as a church.”

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/performance-incentives-fuel-church-staff-to-stronger-results/

INNOVATION & How Robert H Schuller Shaped Your Ministry #WarrenBird

By Warren Bird, LeadNet, 7/27/15.

SCHULLER4.jpgRobert H. Schuller, left, during the celebration service for the installation of his son Robert A. Schuller (with wife Donna next to him) as senior pastor at Crystal Cathedral in 2006.

“Possibility thinker” and pioneering pastor Robert H. Schuller died April 2, 2015, at age 88. Bold, creative, charismatic and controversial, his life and legacy drew immediate major coverage in both the mainstream press and evangelical stalwarts like Christianity Today.

What most people don’t realize is how much Schuller influenced today’s church, not just the megachurch movement, but churches of all sizes and styles. Few congregations today offer church services in drive-in theaters, where Schuller started, nor do many build architectural wonders like Schuller’s inspirational Crystal Cathedral, yet Schuller’s impact is significant and widespread. As Leadership journal pointed out back in 1997, Schuller was the first in the modern era to:

• Call his denominational church a “community church,” since he felt most seekers didn’t understand or relate to a denominational label.

• Rename a sermon as a “message.”

• Use a nontraditional setting for church worship—in his case, a drive-in theater, followed by a drive-in church.

• Conduct door-to-door research, asking, “Why don’t you go to church?” and “What do you want in a church?” (which Schuller describes in his book, Your Church Has Real Possibilities).

• Use marketing strategies to reach nonchurched people (he did so about the time George Barna was born).

• Train pastors in leadership (Institute for Successful Church Leadership, 1969, later named the Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership).

• Televise a weekly church service, the “Hour of Power,” starting in 1970 and not missing a week for decades, a program which conducted many format experiments such as interviews with high-visibility guests…

Reed more at … http://leadnet.org/how-robert-h-schuller-shaped-your-ministry/

TRANSITION & Leadership Succession Basics

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., 7/16/15.

Below is my commentary and some notes I’ve taken (and with which my consulting experience can confirm) on my friend Warren Bird’s book with William Vanderblomen: Next: Pastoral Succession That Works (Baker Books, 2014).

8 year average senior pastor tenure with 18 years avg. senior pastor career (Bird, Vanderblomen, 22)

Principles (p. 30).
> The Bible teaches models of succession.
> Every leader is an interim.

Succession plans keep the church healthy and prevent personality cults regardless of the type of succession plan: emergency, nonemergency yet unforeseen departure, and retirement (pp 33-34).

Founders syndrome (ch. 7): Long term pastorates usually lead to healthier churches. A new culture and a new team is required in second generation pastors.

Unintentional interims (ch. 12): Without ongoing succession planning and a current succession plan, well-meaning team members may become unintentional interims. This usually does not go well because unintentional interims have been team players rather than team leaders. Planning for succession also prevents a leader unintentionally becoming a sacrifice pastor.

Where to look for succession pastors (ch. 14). A leader who is sensitive to the current organizational culture plus understands the emerging organizational culture culture and is a slightly smaller organization is the best leader to choose.

How much it will cost (ch. 15). Bird and Vanderblomen make the argument that whatever the cost, it is usually worth it. Of course Vanderblomen leads a highly successful and professional search firm

How to know when it is time to leave (ch. 4). Due to a need for security, leaders often decide too late that it’s time to live leave. Hence a succession plan in advance helps everyone see the direction of the organization and helps them plan ahead. On a bell curve growth chart this would be about the middle of the plateau at least.

“Ten commandments” of succession planning (ch. 2). Below is their very helpful infographic. I recommend you buy the book for the many helpful details.

image

MEGACHURCHES & a chart that shows their pastors cover a wide range of ages

by Warren Bird, Leadership Network, 7/6/15.

…megachurch pastors cover a wide range of ages. I wrote a blog about the youngest megachurch pastors, and the chart below illustrates the range of ages of megachurch pastors.

MegachurchPastorAge

For other blogs in this series see here and here (scroll down to “FAQs about North American Churches”).

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/not-a-boomer-phenomenon-megachurches-draw-twice-as-many-under-45/

MEGACHURCHES & Research Shows Draw They Twice as Many Under 45

megachurch_1_infographicb

by Warren Bird, Leadership Network, 7/6/15.

“As the Baby Boomer generation (born 1946-1964) passes on, megachurches are also dying off.” I see statements like that often in the public media, but all the evidence says they’re just plain wrong, based on a major research project I did with Scott Thumma.

Instead, the larger the church the greater the percentage of young adults go there on average. We found and wrote in Not Who You Think They Are (free download) that the average age of megachurch respondents is 40 years old, similar to the U.S. Census average. Yet the average age of an attender in a typical “non-megachurch” congregation is nearly 53 years old. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of megachurch attenders are under 45 years old, while only a third are that young in other size churches (35%).

… In addition, nearly half the singles in megachurches have been at the churches 2 years or less, but 20% of them have attended six years or more. Interestingly, these single attenders were twice as likely to be living with other singles when compared to churches of other sizes (16% vs. 8%) but equal in percentage for those living alone (16% vs. 15%). This suggests that perhaps a large percentage of the megachurch singles are students, a perception confirmed in our visits to the megachurches. The visitors and newer people at the megachurches were even more likely to be youthful and single than were those to the average church. Almost 60% of single, never-married megachurch attenders are visitors or have been at the church 2 years or less, whereas for all churches 40% of never married people are visitors or are recent church attenders.

For other blogs in this series see here and here (scroll down to “FAQs about North American Churches”).

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/not-a-boomer-phenomenon-megachurches-draw-twice-as-many-under-45/

FACILITIES & Church Finds Creative Alternative to Building a Bigger Box

By Warren Bird, Leadership Network, 6/30/15.

The Heritage Square campus in Golden, CO, was once an old, rundown amusement park that now hosts thousands of people in more than four services each week.

Instead of sinking huge dollar amounts into a new facility for their rapidly expanding church, Shawn Johnson and his leadership team bucked conventional wisdom and battled their own egos to turn two unusual sites into what became, somewhat to their surprise, launching pads for even faster growth.

“There aren’t many people who can say they meet in a creepy theme park and a rundown dinner theater—but that’s us,” Shawn says of the Denver-metro-based Red Rocks Church. “We’re even looking for a third junky place no one else would want so we can reach even more people.”

As a church of 3,000 attenders in 2011, which had started with 6 people just 6 years previously, Shawn and his team were heading full-steam into planning a building project. “We were out of chairs, we were doing multiple services,” Shawn says. “Isn’t that what you do when you have lots of people and you’re out of room—raise millions of dollars and build a new facility?”

A Little Help from His Friends

Shawn posed his plan to the 35 senior leaders who were part of a Leadership Network-facilitated Rapid Growth Churches Leadership Community; and to a person, they advised him to find another way.

“All of them owned property,” says Shawn. “But all of those pastors said unanimously, ‘If we could go back in time and put ourselves in your position, we would not commission a multi-million dollar building and put ourselves in that kind of debt.’

“They told us we didn’t need a new building to reach more people. Instead they urged me, ‘Go find another creepy facility, use that and stay cheap.’ ” (Hear Shawn tell the story himself )

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/church_finds_creative_alternative_to_building_a_bigger_box/

SMALL GROUPS & Why Do Small Groups Matter in Larger Churches? #WarrenBird #ScottThumma

By Warren Bird, 6/29/15.

Churches grow larger by getting smaller. That’s one of many findings in a survey of some 25,000 megachurch attenders that fellow researcher Scott Thumma and I conducted, writing Not Who You Think They Are (free download) to highlight our findings.

One of the key points: large churches are very intentional about helping people find their identity in some kind of group or team. Some 60% of attenders say they are involved in one or more groups (see graphic), a percentage that’s growing. In an earlier survey back in 2000, just half (50%) of the megachurches said small groups were central to their strategy for Christian nurture and spiritual formation. By 2008, that number had risen to a strong majority (84%) of megachurches affirming the centrality of a small group strategy.

What type of group draws the most participants? Religious education and spiritual growth groups attracted approximately a quarter of megachurch attenders, while service, recovery and fellowship type small groups accounted for no more than 10% to 20% of attenders.

spiritual-small-groups

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/do-small-groups-matter/

SUCCESSION & How Pastors Are Passing the Leadership Baton #WarrenBurd

Succession plans can destroy a church. Or help it thrive for years to come. What are the keys to success?

By Warren Bird, 11/18/2014, Christianity Today

…Four Models

Our research found that among the 100 largest Protestant U.S. churches, the average senior pastor is age 55 and has led the church for 21 years. And 44 percent of the pastors founded the church. According to Scott Thumma and Dave Travis (in Beyond Megachurch Myths), 82 percent of today’s megachurches grew to their large size under the current pastor. These numbers raise the question: Will these churches be able to keep growing once the lead pastor is gone?

Here are four of the most common emerging models of leadership succession:

Family Plan. The pastoral reins are passed to a relative or long-standing spiritual son or daughter…

Sometimes the family plan involves a husband–wife handoff. At NYC’s Greater Allen African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral, Floyd and Elaine Flake have co-pastored thousands since 1976…

In some cases, family successions work well, such as for Bethany Church in Baker, Louisiana, now in its third generation of Stockstill leadership. For others, family successions prove not to have been the best path.

Denominational Plan. The larger the church, the more likely it is to chart its own course. If it has a bishop or district superintendent, he or she often consults with the church to appoint the next pastor…

In reality, the church often leads the denomination by example. Mike Slaughter, 63, arrived at Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio, when it had fewer than 100 attendees. Now there are over 4,000, and the church includes 501(c)(3) organizations, a counseling center, low-income housing, and multiple campuses. “This complexity almost requires leaders to be raised from within,” says Slaughter.

“I consider us R&D for the UMC as they work with other large churches,” he says. “We want to serve as a test case.” By working with Leadership Network CEO Dave Travis, Slaughter has transitioned senior staff to a younger team, most in their 30s, including a 31-year-old teaching pastor. “My focus is to mentor and train our senior team and to pastor our staff,” he says.

Slaughter plans to retire July 1, 2019. “Our board and all staff know the timeline, and this fall we told our lay leaders—and now we’re telling anyone who reads this!”

Process-Only Plan. A common approach is for the outgoing pastor to help create and set in motion a succession plan—and then get out. This was the case for Leith Anderson, who retired in 2011 after 35 years of pastoring Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “Wooddale and I developed a written protocol about 10 years before the transition,” says Anderson. “It specified how to manage the situation if the senior pastor dies, is disabled, becomes heterodox, fails morally, resigns, retires, etc. Doing this takes the pressure and emotion out of the process…”

Intentional Overlap Plan. Our research for Next found that more large-church pastors than not intentionally overlapped with their predecessor. It seems to be the strongest model for succession—when the church culture matches it.

The overlap typically runs for months but occasionally for years…

Some churches have a co-pastor situation, but that rarely leads to permanent co-pastor arrangements. Since 1980, Larry Osborne has been senior pastor of North Coast Church in Vista, California. Chris Brown, 18 years younger, became co-pastor in 2004, and preaches just as much as Osborne. In business terms, North Coast has always had a shared leadership model that functions more like a partnership in a cpa firm than a sole proprietorship with valued employees. Should Osborne die or step away, Brown would likely take on the managing partner role that Osborne held until Brown was elevated.

“I don’t believe in a transition plan longer than 18 months,” says Osborne. It goes by . . . too slowly for the one waiting in the wings. It’s hard to find a ‘big L’ leader willing to wait 3 to 5 years. With a partnership model, 18 months is plenty.”

No One Model

Research in Elephant in the Boardroom affirms that no model is the best or even most likely to result in a seamless pastoral succession. One of the most-watched handoffs was that of Gene Getz, founding pastor of the formerly named Fellowship Bible Church in Dallas. At 72, he passed his leadership baton to a former intern. “There is no one pattern or approach for making a successful transition,” Getz wrote recently in DTS [Dallas Theological Seminary] Connection. “We need to be guided by supracultural principles that emerge from biblical models and directives. We also need to learn from history in order to avoid making mistakes that have led to outright succession failure.”

Our research affirms the same conclusion: From the Moses–Joshua handoff to Jesus’ training of the Twelve, succession planning is both biblical and essential, but there is no cookie-cutter template.

The only thing that’s certain? It’s an inevitable need in every church. And we hope to move it from taboo to normal.

Warren Bird, PhD, an ordained C&MA minister, is research director for Leadership Network and author or coauthor of 27 books, including Next(Baker Books).

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/november/how-pastors-are-passing-leadership-baton.html?paging=off

CHURCH ATTENDANCE & Quotes from “American Religion: Contemporary Trends” by Mark Chaves

(Compiled by Warren Bird from American Religion: Contemporary Trends by Mark Chaves, Princeton University Press.)

Relevant points:

– The U.S. ranks as one of the most pious and religious of any Western countries (p. 1-2)

– For most of the past 300 years, 35%-40% of the population has participated in church with some degree of regularity (p2)

– Despite what people SAY about weekly attendance, the true weekly rate is closer to 25% (p 45). If we use lesser frequencies, more than 60% of American adults have attended a service at a religious congregation in the last year (p 55).

– While it’s debatable whether the attendance is going down or remaining level, the data is unambiguous that overall church attendance is attendance not increasing (p 47). More specifically, religious service attendance declined in the several decades leading up to 1990 and seems to have been essentially stable thereafter (p 49).

– However, the percent who say they “never” attend church has risen steadily over the last 30 years as people shift from infrequent attendance to nonattendance (pp 46, 48).

– Finally, the Protestant portion of the U.S. population is in decline, due to the rise in “nones” (no religious preference), decline of mainline denominations, and rise in the percent of recent immigrants claiming a religion other than Christian (pp 17-24). The Protestant makeup was 62% in the early 1970s to just over 50% today (p 24). If that trend continues, we will soon be a Protestant-minority country.

Read more at … http://www.christianbook.com/apps/product?item_no=146850;product_redirect=1;Ntt=146850;item_code=WW;Ntk=keywords;event=ESRCP

MEGACHURCHES & Index of Leadership Network’s Facts & Findings

Index of Megachurch Research, Leadership Network, 11/8/14.

Photo 6 megachurch page

Blogs with info:

– 9 Fascinating Facts about People Who Attend Megachurches

– Not A Boomer Phenomenon – Megachurches Draw Twice as Many Under 45

– Why Do Small Groups Matter in Large Churches?

– What Was The First Megachurch?

– How many megachurches are there in North America?

– Which North American megachurches have the largest sanctuaries?

– Who is the youngest North American megachurch pastor?

– Are all North American megachurches primarily English speaking?

– What are some good books about U.S. megachurches?

Selected Articles and Reports:

The Economic Outlook of Very Large Churches: Trends Driving the Budgets and Staffing Activities of North America’s Biggest Congregations

This report, published February, 2013, contains new research from our Fall 2012 Economic Outlook Survey, as well as previously unreleased information from our 2012 Salary Survey.

photo 4 magechurch page

Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches

By Scott Thumma and Warren Bird

The National Survey of Megachurch Attenders drew 24,900 responses from 12 carefully selected megachurches across the U.S. Conducted January to August 2008, it is the largest national representative study of megachurch attendees conducted by any researchers to date. This report summarizes the initial learnings from the study.

photo 2 megachurch page

Read more at … http://leadnet.org/megachurch/