Many from the Congregation have asked “What is a program church?” Darn good question; since supposedly we have been transitioning from a “Pastoral Church” to a “Program Church”! A Pastoral Church usually numbers from 50 – 150 members at worship; the pastor is central and relates to everyone. Growth often depends on the popularity of the pastor. When growth happens and the minister’s attention is drawn away from personal to program activities, the solution is to hire additional staff. The change in dynamics with additional staff means the minister focuses more on administration and supervision.
A Program church usually numbers from 150 –350 at worship. The need for a high quality relationship with the pastor, which is more typical in the pastoral church, must now be supplemented by other avenues of spiritual feeding. Thus programs begin to fill that role. Lay leadership is vital. The church usually has many “cells of activity” headed by lay leaders. Pastor becomes more of a motivator and trust builder, and manages the staff. The minister motivates lay leaders to take up key components of the mission. The shift from Pastoral to Program style functioning can be most difficult to achieve – at risk is loss of connection with the minister and to others in the congregation. Barriers to this shift from Pastoral to Program church are when either the minister or lay leaders hold on rigidly to this connection.
More information is on web at WWW.UUA.ORG and WWW.TJD.UUA.ORG.