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July 31, 2006

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aaron ayers

I have to admit I have never really given that much thought to the overall make up of a church. However, it seems to me thaf if you had the balanced 'thirds' relationship he speaks of then the church might be struggling for volunteers. I could be wrong, but do you find it often that the new Christians and non-Christians are the ones volunteering, helping out with small groups, children, preschool. etc.? To me those numbers sound like there could be a strain on the Church in that respect, with maybe 1/3 of the church doing 3/3 of the work. Just a thought, I could be way off the mark. How do you think Catalyst would break down?

Chris Whisonant

Umm... that sounds about like the typical Southern Baptist Church. But those are more like 45% maturing/10% new/45% non, right?

But that's just the church roll, are you talking about the roll or the Sunday morning crowd? I've been kind of thinking about your post most of the day, and I'm not really sure how I feel. I think that's a pretty good assessment, though. We do need to have more lost people coming into churches - no doubt about that. But I believe the church misses something vital when too much focus is placed on being "cool" or on trying to be a competitor to football teams, lakes, or shopping.

Jay Hardwick

Aaron,

The cool thing that happens quite a bit at Catalyst is non-Christians will have a desire to get involved in ministry. Now, we certainly don't give them teaching responsibility in an Upstreet (elementary-aged) or Waumba Land (preschol) small group, but they can serve on the parking team, production team, or set-up/tear-down. Also, new Christians are sometimes the most eager to get involved.

To be honest, it's hard to tell where we are right now at Catalyst. I would guess that we are at least 50% maturing Christians because our initial target is Christians who want to influence their friends and invite them to church. Our major growth over the next 6 months should be more new and non-Christians.

Jay Hardwick

Chris,

I am thinking more in terms of participation, not the roll. We don't necessarily have a "roll" right now because we're not doing membership right now.

The challenge when trying to reach people who do not go to church is that you automatically put yourself in competition with whatever people do instead of going to church. The question is not "what can we do to look/feel like a football game/lake/etc.?" The question is what is it about the football game that adds value to their lives? What do people get at the lake that they are not getting at church (or do don't perceive they will get)? It's that balance thing - being relevant and remaining authentic.

Matthew Ables

Hey Jay! Long time no see! I just got back from a 1-month road trip. Got to see lots of stuff, meet cool people, learn tons, and just generally be really hardcore, which you know from experience is no difficult thing for me.

First of all, my initial response is that the optimal mix should be what God brings to you. Like with most things, there is no formula and shouldn't be a formula. We should take what God gives us and work with it.

However, I also understand the need for a goal to work towards. The 1/3 balance sounds nice. The problem, however, is that those categories can be messy. In churches I have been through in my life, I have found a lot of "mature Christians" that wouldn't tithe, volunteer, or disciple. I've seen lots of non-Christians that attend every event possible. And there's that category of Christian that isn't really new, but definitely isn't mature - they're just THERE, for conscience sake, tradition sake, the wife's sake, or whatever.
I have more thoughts, but I've spent too long on this already. I'm glad to see you in the blog-world though. I'll try to keep up. Also, glad to see you reading Rob Bell. I thought his story of starting Mars Hill was VERY challenging and telling.
Also, on my road trip I got to visit Mars Hill Seattle where Mark Driscoll pastors. It was incredibly refreshing and encouraging. I'd love to talk sometime if you like. I'll be around Greenville for a month or so.

Ryan Stone

I think that is probably a good goal for the "optimal" church...but maybe for the realistic part we should add a category for "just Christians." Those showing up....and that's it for them.

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