Each congregational size presents its own opportunities and challenges, as well as its own set of leadership needs.

In a recent Alban survey of pastors of large congregations (worship attendance of 500-2,000) and denominational professionals with responsibility to work with those pastors, two clear messages emerged about the critical issues that face leaders of that size congregation:

  • Large-congregation leaders need to find and develop their own networks, commonly across denominational boundaries. These leaders often do not receive the resources and support from their denominational relationships that they need for their work. One of the greatest sources of learning and resourcing is from colleagues who do the same work.
  • Large-congregation leaders need to explore and learn about issues that are not as important to other size congregations. Some of the issues identified through the survey include staff management, fiscal management, human resource practice, search processes, staff development, preaching in the large setting, forecasting trends, environmental scans, public presence, time management, board role and relations, and use of consultants.

In an effort to address these issues and to learn more about this congregational size, Alban is launching a national network for pastors of large congregations. The network will begin with four two-day research and support events to be offered during 2005 and 2006. These events will bring together participants for support and mutual learning, as well as to research a specific question about leading the large congregation. Gil Rendle, an Alban senior consultant who has been focusing on the work of large congregations, will design and facilitate these events.

Large-church pastors who are unable to attend these events may still participate in the national network, receiving resources—written reports, monographs, research surveys, etc.—and connecting with other large-church leaders.

For more information about this large-church network, contact our Education department at 800-486-1318, ext. 247.

Featured Resources

AL304_SMPracticing Right Relationship: Skills for Deepening Purpose, Finding Fulfillment, and Increasing Effectiveness in Your Congregation by Mary K. Sellon and Daniel P. Smith

Why is it that some pastors flourish wherever they go, while others with superior theological and practical training continually fail? Why do some insignificant events end up touching people in significant ways? Why do people leave churches with vibrant and exciting programs while others remain loyal to churches that seem to have very little to offer? What makes the difference? In a book that is both profound and practical, Mary Sellon and Daniel Smith make the case that the health of churches and synagogues depends on congregations learning how to live out love in “right relationships.”

AL289_SM Your Brain Goes to Church: Neuroscience and Congregational Life by Bob Sitze

Emerging discoveries in brain science are sparking new areas of research as cutting-edge educators and psychologists are asking, “What can we learn from brain science about how we function in the world?” In Your Brain Goes to Church, ever-provocative author Bob Sitze joins the conversation with a new question: What does the human brain have to do with the beliefs, practices, and structures of congregations?