Scott Hodge


Leveraging Your Size

Jul 17, 2008

Ok, that title sounds a little weird…  But it’s a little bit of what I shared at Community Christian Church’s staff meeting yesterday as I discussed some of the lessons we’re learning through our ongoing journey of growth at The Orchard

Here are a few of those thoughts:

You can’t lead a church of 200 or 300 like you would lead a church of 5,000. 

The truth is, most of us would utterly fail if we tried leading a church of 5,000 because it’s the journey of growing that God uses to grow US as leaders so that we’re prepared and equipped to lead at a larger level.

My “natural” strength as a leader and pastor is to be big picture focused, entrepreneurial, culture shaping and driven.  But there were seasons when we were smaller that what our church needed was not “Scott the visionary leader”, but “Scott the pastor.”  We need to be sensitive to this and make sure we’re not so far ahead in the way we lead that we fail to gain momentum in our churches.

Some say that we should lead our churches as through they are twice the size they are.  This is probably good advice when it comes to things like systems and organization.  But I have to wonder where the balance is to that when it comes to how we lead and relate to our staff and leaders.

The 200-500 range is a CRUCIAL time for our churches.  Our church cultures are shaped and created at this stage – which is why we have to be sensitive in how we lead.

There are unique ways you can leverage being small that you will never have the opportunity to leverage again. 

Don’t be so focused on getting to the “next level” that you miss out on leveraging opportunities that will in turn build great momentum for the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

12 Responses to “Leveraging Your Size”

  1. Brad Gross says:

    Couldn’t agree more! We have to spend time where we’re at and take advantage of opportunities to build momentum! We’re going through that at my church right now; we’re spending time communicating and training our leaders to train those around them creating this tidle wave of influence that has in turn created a TSUNAMI of change and like-mindedness giving our church the chance to go forward together and really setting the stage for the future of what God has for us!

  2. Talking with my wife about our church plant, I said this the other day:
    “I’ve got the big picture down – Now I’ve got to get a good handle on the small picture.”
    I’m learning that in applying even wise principles from other leaders and books, I have to be careful not to abandon common sense in the process…
    Good insights, Scott!

  3. Scott, is it easier to lead a church of 500 or 5,000 or disciple a group of 12 in your opinion?

  4. John Jackson says:

    Hey Scott…great stuff–totally right on. I’ve got a book coming out in late fall called, “God-Sizing Your Church” where I talk about health AND growth (since some seem to think they are mutually exclusive). Give me your mailing address and I’ll make sure you get a copy…
    I trust that all is well….go for it!

  5. Awesome thoughts that really confirm some ideas I posted a few days ago about Generals and Fathers. They might also tie into your thought.
    There are other times when instead of needing visionaries/generals, we need pastors/fathers. For example, we are going through a leadership change as I as missionary/founder move on to a new city and a new church plant. At least for the next months there is need for more pastoral emphesis instead of visionary, although the visionary must rise in the near future.
    Great thoughts. Forward!

  6. Bob Franquiz says:

    Awesome stuff!
    So true!

  7. rick womack says:

    you touch on not allowing leadership to get in the way of leading staff and leaders, i would add that pastors also need to be aware that the “pastoral” role of a leader in smaller and earlier stages can’t be dismissed. i agree that structures and systems can be in place for double your size, unfortunately, i’ve seen pastors leave behind their church because they abdicated their role as pastor

  8. I agree completely. I just made the jump from being Communications Director at a “small” church of 700 to one of two an Art Directors (Associate Director of Communications) at a much larger and older church of 3,000.
    The difference in leadership capacity that has allowed my current church to grow and maintain strength is vastly … uhm … “different” … than my old church. :o )

  9. Great post. Very timely. This is the third time this week God has spoken to me about getting too far ahead of our people. We’re growing pretty quickly and I want to capitalize on it, but I don’t want to be so focused on the vision that I miss out on the journey with our people.
    Know any good planters/pastors in the area who have grown from 300-500, that would be to network with about church size strategies?

  10. Rich Butler says: post I have read in a long time. To hear this from a guy who is leading a growing church is humbling.
    I certainly appreciated the line, ” But there were seasons when we were smaller that what our church needed was not “Scott the visionary leader”, but “Scott the pastor.”
    Thanks for your heart and leadership!

  11. Paul Kuzma says:

    Incredible insights here Scott! I am currently leading a church of 200 (church is 59 years old) through a facility expansion.
    We’re going from a small sanctuary to a smaller one during construction. Before going to the smaller one, we are spending the Summer in ONE service (we’ve had 2-3 for many years) in an effort to leverage community before we go to a smaller room that will force 2-3 services for 6 months.
    I felt your post speak straight from my own heart.

  12. Great thoughts Scott
    As a church grows I think a pastors role moves from ministry focus to leadership focus.
    Ministry is different to leadership.
    A church <200 needs a pastor doing lots of ministry (preaching, connecting, assimilating) but a church growing thru 500 needs a pastor doing leadership(facilitating ministry thru others)
    A mate of mine describes the 75-200 zone as the Sanguine zone requiring a promotion, vibrancy, up beat style. The 200-500 zone requires a more Choleric approach – strategic, focussed. Then 500+ requires Melancholic leadership – contemplative, reflective, atmos focussed.

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