Friday, September 24, 2004

Structuring for Growth

I've been giving some thought recently to how the church could structure differently for growth. Let's just assume for a moment that the Adventist church won't actually reallocate tithe in a way that will cause more pastors to be in the field. Can we still see some restructuring that will cause more growth? Allow me a little illustration:

Let's say that a hotdog company in New York City sells its hotdogs by distributing manned hotdog carts in different parts of the city. And let's say that we consistently find that carts in certain parts of the city are unprofitable, while those in other parts of the city are making a killing. If the hotdog company wants to sell more hotdogs, it would make sense to relocate the unprofitable hotdog carts to parts of the city where the hotdogs will sell. There is a nominal cost to redistribute the carts to where they will actually sell hotdogs. And the profits will outstrip the costs in no time.

But what about those three customers who used to come and buy hotdogs from the unprofitable cart once a week? Is it the job of the hotdog company to "not cause any waves"? To do it the way we've always done it? Or is it the job of the hotdog company to structure to sell as many hotdogs as possible before Jesus comes?

Let's say that a denomination wins people to Christ by distributing pastors to churches in different parts of the conference territory. And let's say that we consistently find that single-pastor churches in small towns aren't growing, while those in cities are seeing steady growth. If the conference wants to bring more people to Christ, it would make sense to relocate the pastors to work in places where churches are growing. There is a nominal cost to redistribute the pastors where they will actually grow their churches. And the tithe that is generated will outstrip the costs in no time.

But what about those twelve church members who used to come to church once a week and stare at each other? Is it the job of the conference to "not cause any waves"? To do it the way we've always done it? Or is it the job of the conference to structure to win as many people as possible before Jesus comes?