So what does a church do that is watching its membership base grow beyond 250 persons. Well, a few thoughts I have found to be of interest from others who have actually experienced this phenomenon (the churches I have been in have either not been there yet, or been well beyond this).
First, does the church have a vision? If so, how does the size of the membership fit with the vision?
e.g. A church has a vision to keep everyone involved in a small group, no matter how large the church.
-The community then has opportunity to expand Sunday School and Bible Study groups, as well as forming some additional covenant groups (4-6 members on up to about 15 for a short term study or accountability setting, designed to send the participants out at the end of the session to form new groups of similar making)
e.g. The church has a vision to be a homeless shelter in its area.
-With a certain size membership and facility this is an easy thing to carry out. But if the church has outgrown its space a decision looms to leave the old facility or rebuild. The homeless shelter needs to be evaluated in the process, to keep it there while the "Church" moves elsewhere to more space, to rebuild with specific facilities, or to maintain the model in place, with enough space for the growing congregation
Second, the people of the church need to be involved in the church at some level.
Church growth studies have shown that the size may remain the same, but the transitory nature of the church depends on the level of involvement that the church can reasonably provide for every person in the congregation. Otherwise, it gets too easy to "hide in a crowd" and then feel more and more lost and ignored.
Third, use the resources of the church wisely and find ways to utilize a minister for every 250 persons. Use something like a Stephen Ministry
, a Retired Minister, Lay Speakers (a pastor has to leave the pulpit at some point to get away and take vacation).
Those are just a few of the thoughts I have seen put into practice with great success.
The last piece of "The Too Big Church" will be "Keeping the Pastor Fresh", dealing with vacations, retreat, spiritual and actual support of the pastor and keeping the pastor in the "real world" to avoid disconnection with the local congregation.