The 200 Growth Barrier in Churches Revisited: 9 Observations From Dr, Thom Rainer

thomFrom time to time I come across something that I read that I want to share with you.  Here is the condensed version of a recent post by Dr. Thom Rainer I found insightful:

I was greatly influenced by, and indeed I was a part of, the church growth movement with its emphasis on numerical growth in congregations. Today, the influence of church growth writers has waned. My son, Jess Rainer, was recently reading an older book in this genre. His interest encouraged me to review some of the contributions of this era.

It was a fascinating journey to read again works from the 1970s and 1980s by Bill Sullivan, C. Peter Wagner, Elmer Towns, Bill Easum, John Maxwell (pre-leadership guru days), Carl George, George Hunter, and others. I was particularly interested in those works dealing with the 200 attendance barrier in churches. So I took a day to review those specific works. Allow me to share with you some observations.

  1. The interest waned in materials on attendance barriers and was replaced by deeper biblical and theological works.
  2. It is unfortunate that the interest has waned so significantly though. These teachings can be very helpful.
  3. The numerical emphasis is not as important as Great Commission obedience.
  4. Many of the issues related to the 200 barrier dealt with church members being willing to get out of their comfort zone for the sake of the gospel.
  5. One of the most important messages of the 200 barrier works was the imperative for leaders to let go.
  6. These works showed us the importance of goal setting.
  7. These works showed us that the attitude of the congregation is critical to breaking the 200-barrier.
  8. Evangelism must be a priority.
  9. These works helped leaders become more effective change agents.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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