“Good science, clear information and valid perceptions.”

Handout Discussion
__ General Editing.
__ What handout material should be discussed here? In Homework?
__ Expand on handout material.
– E. Changes in compensation costs. F.
– Mainline Decline and Third World Cell Church Growth
– First Systemic Problem: Not Making Disciples
“And good science, clear information and valid perceptions,” David said. He passed around another handout. “I wanted to give you an example of that sort of research. Please take a moment now to read it over and we will discuss it.”


E. Changes in compensation costs have increased the minimum size necessary to afford a full time and fully credentialed pastor from forty-five in 1930 to seventy-five in 1950 to 125 in 2003; less than 25% of United Methodist churches today are that size or larger. The motivation for church growth is more often economic than spiritual.

F. It is a major cultural change to grow beyond the Two Hundred Barrier to become a Program Base Design (PBD) church. Many small churches are unwilling to do this.



E: Lyle Schaller, “What Should Be The Norm?” Circuit Rider, September/October 2003, 16.

F: For information on competency limit of the Rule of 150, see Kevin Martin, The Myth of the 200 Barrier: How to Lead through Transitional Growth (Nashville: Cokesbury, 2005), 39-42.


DAvid refilled his mug of coffee while they were reading. “Let’s go through the ideas line by line. What do you think about item E?”

“Health insurance costs have gone up a lot since 2003. Has that figure been updated?”

“I don’t know,” David said. “I’ll look into it.”

“Our churches have had part time pastors for decades. We get along with who they send us.”

David nodded. “Would a fulll time pastor make much of a difference in your church setting?”

“Not really,” answered. “Our pastors normally preach and conduct worship on Sunday morning, and they are on call for emergencies. Like hospital visits.”

“And church committee meetings,” said.

?laughed. “We have fourteen people on a good Sunday. We don’t have committee meetings!”

“None?” David asked.

“Once or twice in the fall, to look over a budget and the list of officers elected at the church conference. We just sit down after church and finish it up on a Sunday after church.”

“The treasurer doesn’t make a monthly report?” asked.

“Not unless there is a need to do so. We have the same bills each month and he just pays them.”

“So, if you had monthly Administrative Board meetings,” David said, “would it help you make disciples? Would there be more disciples following Jesus if you had more committee meetings?”

The twelve laughed.

“No, not in our church,” said. “But the church should be run like a business with regular financial reports.”

“Should the church be run like a business?” David asked.

Several heads around the table said no.

“Why or why not?” David said.

Winnie raised her hand tentatively. “Because committee meetings don’t make disciples?”

David nodded. “Exactly, if it doesn’t make disciples, why are you doing it?” Several around the table smiled at him. “A  business has to justify the benefit to the bottom line for everything they do that uses resources. How does it affect the bottom line? A cost is not justified unless it benefits the business.

“And in a church, I hear you saying, the bottom line is whether a cost makes disciples?” said

Exactly,” David said.

“What do you mean by cost?” asked. David genetured for the group to answeer.

“Money, of course,” said

“How important is money to your churches?” David asked. “Do you have enough?”

“Our costs are very low. Building paid for and in good repairs.”

“Our largest cost is our pastor,” said.

“We pay Louise to clean the church. It helps her out.”

“Volunteers mow the church yard.”

“And a part-time pastor doesn’t cost that much.”

“And we don’t pay benefits for a part-time pastor.”

“Let’s refocus on the bottom line for a church,” David said. “If you had more money to spend, would disciples be made?”

“We have more money,” said. “If we needed more, we’d just make it known and the money would happen.”

“Can you buy disciples?” asked.

“Did Jesus buy disciples?” David asked. “So, to the conclusion. The reason disciples are not being made is not because more money is needed. Money is all right-handed church. Right-handed church doesn’t make disciples. Left-handed church makes disciples, and you can’t buy that.”

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