Southern Baptist success? Maybe.

I keep bumping into church leaders of different persuasions whose goal it is to see their church plants grow to 500+.

If you want a case study of how it's done, try the Southern Baptists. I've just finished a 1994 article by Roger Finke that shows between 1920 and 1990 the average size of a Southern Baptist church soared from 115 to 396. Impressive.

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The other trend he noticed was the dramatic increase in seminary trained professional clergy. Before 1950 the Southern Baptist seminaries produced 10,000 graduates. From 1950-90 the number grew to 60,000.

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The Southern Baptists heritage was all about small churches and lay leadership. Today it's professional staff and large churches.

Bigger churches. Trained clergy. Sounds like a recipe for success.

Maybe.