This is going to be just a brief reflection on the data below.
Reminder--Missional Centers are churches that are not the largest churches but usually run between 600 to 800 in worship attendance. They have multiple staff, extensive programming, well-established facilities, and experienced pastors. They typically anchor district events and personnel. They have self-educated, lifelong learners, generous, visionary, and engaged lay leadership. These churches are what Rev. Mark Bane calls "high impact" churches.
Nine churches fit this criteria in the Northeast megaregion. But, get this. They claim one out eight members, and one of every six worship attenders!
One-third of the megaregion's churches run 75 or more. This is the bare minimum number for what Alan Hirsch refers to as "oikos" communities. Seventy-five will be a group that has a designated leader, draws several groups of people together on a regular basis, and engages in ministry that seeks to multiply.
Half of the churches are 45 or less in worship attendance. I wonder if a few of these churches could not be gathered into "oikos" communities.
Let me do a little thought experiment. Let's bring together several strategic concepts--Alan Hirsch's Hirsh's oikos communities, Mike Breen's missional communities, and Francis Asbury's circuit rider into one organic network.
What if there are leaders trained as shepherds over the smallest churches, or missional communities (less than 45). These churches are places of prayer where people are cared for and discipled, operate on low-overhead expenses, maybe have a volunteer or bivocational pastor.
Of these leaders, a few leaders could be designated as oikos network leaders of a church or several churches (total attenders of 75 to 90). They will probably be full-time or in a few cases bivocational, but mostly available to nurture and lead several of these churches. Nazarene polity recognizes churches in groups, such as mission areas or zones.
The missional centers will be places of encouragement and education, as well as places from which oikos network leaders and missional community shepherds might be called. A staff member at this church could provide apostolic (strategic and missional) oversight for oikos network leaders.
Just thinking aloud.
Longevity assisted by adaptability
One of the data points about large churches on this megargion that jumped off the page was pastoral tenure. Three of the largest churches have pastoral tenure over two decades.
These churches also average over 60 years of average ministry. Again, the Northeast megaregion exemplifies longevity even in the midst of great diversity. This is a quandary.
One expects great diversity to equal continual change. Maybe longevity is aided by adaptability in the midst of diversity. Therefore, change is possible.