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The High Turnover Church

One month into my first pastorate in Athens, Greece, an elder advised that three years' experience there would equal ten years anywhere else. A high turnover church gives you lots of practice doing most everything.

In my present church in Seoul, 70 percent of the newcomers leave within three years. Here for a while on business, they bring plenty of ideas and energy to the church. But the constant flow of people erodes the traditional bases of ministry.

I see 500 visitors each year, yet our church has plateaued at 250 attendees. At first that discouraged me. I figured I've said goodbye to more than 1,000 regular attenders in the last ten years. While I haven't put it on my resume, I've pastored a congregation of 1,000, just not all at once. This helps me keep perspective—I minister to a procession.

Reaching the sojourners

The high turnover church has two constituencies with different needs. For the church to thrive, these groups must reach a comfortable balance—of power and ministry. ...

May/June
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