Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Really average?

"Are you at a big church?"

"No, not really. We probably have, I dunno, an average of 250 on a Sunday across the services?"

Last week I overheard a conversation similar to the one above. The enquirer was from a small rural congregation and the respondent was from one of the most wealthy parts of Sydney.

For some, their perceived average is nothing like reality.

If I were to ask you the average attendance of a church service of your denomination, how many would you say? 50? 100? More?
How about the average number in a youth ministry? 20? 40? More?
Does your upbringing effect your view of "average"?

For many in ministry, particularly youth ministry, they come from healthier (and generally larger) churches. They don't come from a struggling church who strains to scrape together 30 on a "good" Sunday.

I've heard it said that the average church service in my denomination is under 30 people (which seems to make sense once the weekly number of attendees is divided by the number of congregations, mindful that some churches have multiple services).

Occasionally those of us conditioned by a fortunate, (pseudo)thriving church past can needlessly cry poor. We pine over the 100 who turned up on Sunday morning. We mope over the "barely 20" teens who darken the doors on a Friday night (I've also heard that the average number of young people in a church is 5).

This post isn't about celebrating mediocrity, but perhaps some need to open their eyes to what the "real" average is in the wider church.

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