(By David Richmon, The Exchange.)
Our research shows that many churches struggle to get past an attendance barrier at around 200. I’ve been helping churches through this barrier for several years and I’ve been looking for a way to help more. There are no quick fixes, but there are very real solutions.
We will soon be launching some video resources on this, but wanted to take this time to give examples of actual stories of pastors who’ve seen their churches break that barrier (and beyond). This is an important issue—and I know many who feel stuck and stagnant, unable to grow past 200.
Our video resource will have 14 sessions (topics listed below) and will be transformative for many churches. To that end, I’m offering a couple of posts every week to highlight churches that have broken the 200 barrier in light of some of the topics in the course. I hope they are a great encouragement as you strive to do the same.
We will be running posts in this series every other day, so stay tuned for a lot of great stories. Today, we welcome David Richmon, who serves as Pastor of Green Lake Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington.
At the end of the post is an email address you can use to get more information and free resources on Breaking the 200 Barrier.
Here’s the story from David:
Green Lake Presbyterian Church is a 78-year-old congregation located just miles from Seattle’s downtown core. We have a great tradition of biblical preaching, foreign missions, and local church planting. Our current demographic is primarily young families, but we’ve experienced an increasing number of university students and singles, as well as a robust and mature group of empty nesters. Over the last decade we’ve had several seasons of growth. The first spurt led to a multi-site ministry and the eventual planting of two new congregations.
About five years ago we hit a point of stagnation. Numerically we steadily hovered around 160-180 on an average Sunday. Our lows were in the 130s and sometimes, if we had a perfect week—no vacations, no illnesses, etc.—we’d break 200.
Nothing was terribly wrong, but things weren’t great either. During this time, we recognized some unhealthy patterns both in our church’s culture, as well as in how we as a leadership team shepherded the body. We knew if we wanted to grow—numerically and spiritually—things had to change.
One of the first things we did was build an intentional and executable long term plan, or a mission plan as we’ve come to call it.