Last time I introduced a little bit what I was going after in this series. And yes, I know it's going on a long time. Before I get too much further into it, I wanted to clarify why it is this question has some hold on me.
As some of you know, I am now, for better or worse, and elder at my local church. I have learned much, met many new folks, seen attendance rise (not my fault), heard squabbles, shared joy, and been encouraged by many "God sightings." Frankly, when I accepted the election to serve I didn't know completely what I was getting into; but I wasn't caught off guard either. It's been a joy, a challenge and a humbling privilege. I found out how much I didn't know, and in how many new places I could serve. Hopefully I'm holding my own, but we'll see as time goes on. The biggest challenge for me has been balancing this role with my roles of father and husband.
We have also hired, as of just under two years ago, a new Sr. Pastor. Great guy, good preacher, good leader. But, as part of the process we started hearing questions. Will we be another Eagle Brook. Will we be another Willow Creek. Do we want to grow that big?
The concern seems to be from two perspectives. One is a uncertainty about how big a church should be. My quick answer to that is, "as big as God makes it." He brings the growth, after all, through the people in a given congregation. It's a Sunday School answer of sorts, but it's true.
The other concern is that the large churches asked about, besides being huge in numbers, tend to be thought of as "seeker driven" churches. And there are a lot of people who are concerned about being seeker-driven in our churches. It is that concern I want to address in this series. First, is there necessarily a correlation between size and being "seeker driven"? Second, if there is, is there a problem with being "seeker driven"? Mixed with this will be a look at what church is, and who it is for. These are questions we've been wrestling with at Grace Church for the better part of a year or two. We'll see if I can distill that into a blog series, even one as long-running (ha!) as this one is turning out to be.