The smaller the group, the more likely there will be a higher percentage of members engaged in the goals of the team.
This is true for groups of all types, including churches.
In the last few years I’ve come to appreciate this principle in some very concrete ways. And it’s something every small church pastor needs to know and be encouraged by.
For the first time in my life, I’m experiencing two very distinct aspects of ministry running on parallel tracks – one staying small, intimate and personal, while the other is getting bigger, wider and less relational.
This is giving me a vantage point that is important to share.
The Smaller The Group The Greater The Engagement
All of my pastoral ministry has been in small churches.
Because of that, I have real relationships with the people in the church. Not just the staff, but most of the members, too. They don’t just know about my life, I know about theirs. We chat before and after church, eat meals together, celebrate milestones, and hold each other accountable.
From that involvement, we measure and promote our church’s health by how deeply people are engaged in ministry, fellowship and the other aspects of church life and community.
While the response to my blogging, books and speaking was much stronger than anyone anticipated (especially me) I was still writing and speaking to small enough audiences that we were able to engage in face-to-face and online conversations, gaining a great deal of value from the interaction.
But as the size of this audience has increased that has changed.
The Bigger The Crowd, The Less The Involvement
For the first time in almost 40 years of ministry, what I write is being read, not by dozens or even hundreds of people, but thousands. And the size of the audiences at conferences is growing, also.
There’s a lot of good that happens when an audience grows, but something gets lost, as well.
When the group grows, the engagement drops. It happens on a one-for-one basis at first. You can only engage half as much in a group of 80 as in a group of 40, for instance. But when the crowds get really big, the engagement drops faster than the audience grows.