By Ken Blue
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Regardless of the choice one makes, we cannot argue with the fact that God wants His church to witness to the lost. If a church is healthy, there should be constant professions of faith and growth in membership. If there are no professions of faith, there is something wrong with the evangelistic ministry. If there is no membership growth, there is something wrong with the organization.
How large should a church be? That is the question. There are those who believe a church should have one hundred or less in membership. Others pick a higher number, but not by much. On the other hand, there are those who see the “sky as the limit.”
I always had my sights on building a large church. The reason, no doubt, was the cultural mentality when we started Open Door, and my own personality. However, I never build the attendance I thought possible. Part of the problem was my own inability. Another, barrier was the size of our building. We were always at 80% capacity, or more. A church seldom grows beyond that percentage.
Although I never realized my vision, I can look back and see how God enlarged the ministry of Open Door in spite of me. This was accomplished by the many men and women who committed to fulltime service and built a ministry for the Lord.
There are 6 men from Open Door who are pastoring or have started churches in Washington State, 3 in Arizona, 1 California, 1 in Nebraska, 1 in Montana, 1 in Florida, 1 in Mexico, 1 in England, 1 Germany, and 1 in Michigan. These are the ones I remember, I am confident there are others. This was not my vision for Open Door, but God had a better plan.
I spoke recently to a pastor who averages about 400 in attendance. He said his goal was to start new churches in the surrounding communities with paid pastors from his church. These pastors and churches would be under the leadership and umbrella of the mother church. The new churches will be called “Campus Churches.” Dr. John Rawlins had a similar setup in Cincinnati, Ohio. He called them “Satellite Churches.”
Personally, I believe the pastor should let the church grow according to God’s increase, and one’s ability to pastor it. However, wisdom and the Holy Spirit may lead the pastor to start other churches with those members who live a great distance from the church.
Because of the cost involved in attempting to build buildings or rent facilities today, it is practically impossible to do it solo. Thus, the idea of starting other churches with existing members and a paid pastor may be the best method for starting new congregations. It is an idea worth considering.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.