Are we not big enough already as a congregation?
There are approximately 100,000 people living in Red Deer and around 250,000 people living in Central Alberta. We are a congregation of 5,000+ people when you consider all those that would consider CrossRoads their home church. We still have a lot of work to do!
When a church grows to our size, it is natural to feel lost in the crowd and to feel unnoticed and uncared for. However, you can feel just as “lost” in a church of 400 as you can in a church of 5000. The answer is to get involved – either in a ministry or small group. We regularly hear new people give testimony to the fact that the size of our church intimidated them UNTIL they got connected in a ministry or small group. After that, they no longer had an issue with the overall size of the church.
Small churches play an important role in the kingdom. God has called each local fellowship to a unique calling. We also believe that large churches can play a strategic role in the kingdom of God. If you take a congregation of 5,000 and divide it up into congregations of 200, the cost of ministry per member is often two or three times higher. A typical 200-person church has two full-time pastors and a full-time assistant. On average, their buildings and property are valued at over 2 million dollars. On that basis, 25 congregations of 200 people have the equivalent of 75 full time staff. Yet with our congregation of 5000 we currently have the equivalent of less than 40 full time staff. In addition, in today’s numbers, the property value on 25 congregations of 200 would be a conservative estimate at $50 million. The total budgets for 25 congregations would be more than 9 million as well.
But not only do large churches tend to run more EFFICIENTLY; it also tends to operate more EFFECTIVELY as well. In 25 congregations of 200 you have 25 senior pastors (half your pastoral staff) devoting most of their time to giving leadership to the whole church and preparing sermons. In our church of 5,000 you would still only have one or two pastors performing these tasks. All the other staff give focused attention to establishing people in faith and equipping them in specialized ministries that are critical to fulfilling the mandate of the church – like small groups, children, youth, worship, and pastoral care to name a few.
As we converse with other large churches, they have described the high cost of their multi-site churches and they have experienced the increased demands on their resources and efforts that are required to maintain the smaller venues, with less results that what the main campus has experienced.
We also believe that the resources the God has given to CrossRoads are to be shared with other churches in Central Alberta. Over a number of years, we have provided coaching and even dollars to other smaller churches and church leaders in Central Alberta. We will continue doing this at every opportunity because it will be the only way that Central Alberta can be reached, that being through many healthy, vibrant and flourishing churches of all sizes.