The Large Church: Organizational and Operational Best Practices, Mark Reinemann
Church experts will typically group congregations into four sizes: family sized (80 or fewer in average Sunday attendance); pastoral sized (80 to 150); program sized (150 to 500); corporate sized (500+ in average Sunday attendance).
In many WELS congregations, the pastor is heavily involved in the management of the church. He might attend all the meetings of every board and committee and team. He may have a voice in every decision that is made. In a smaller congregation, this is perhaps necessary. The pastor is most likely the only full-time worker. However, when a church reaches 300 in worship… when it begins to approach the corporate sized congregation… if the congregational leadership does not organize properly, it can create challenges to gospel ministry.
- It could be a pastor who is overworked and close to burnout and everyone goes to him with every problem, spiritual or otherwise.
- It could be frustrations within the congregation and among leadership at the pacing of decision making.
- It could be that ministry opportunities are missed because there is too much “business” to do.
- It could simply be that there is a loss of momentum.
With the gospel he preaches and teaches, the pastor shapes the congregation’s core values and motivates God’s people to carry out the mission of the Church. That is spiritual leadership. However, congregations need more than leadership. To conduct ministry in a manner worthy of the gospel they also need management, which is a completely different skillset. Management is necessary even in a family sized congregation. But the larger a congregation is, the importance of management grows exponentially. And the way the congregation is managed will likely need to evolve.
In this session, we are going to discuss some organizational and operational “best practices” for large congregations. How do we organize such congregations so that not everything needs to go across the pastor’s desk? What decisions does the pastor need to be (and not need to be) involved in? As congregations grow, is the best solution always to add another pastor? Or might a better solution be to add an operational manger, a layman with gifts in planning and operations? How do we structure our large congregations in a way that best glorifies and serves Christ?
This is not a session only for large congregations. Congregational consultants will explain that organizing your congregation for “the next size up” can help avoid certain plateau points. Therefore, if your congregation is program sized (worshipping more than 150 per week), you too can benefit from the “best practices” shared in this session.
Mark is a life-long member of the WELS. He was baptized, confirmed and married at Christ Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wis. After his marriage to Wendy in 1985, Mark and Wendy joined Trinity – Waukesha where they remained members until Mark took the Executive Director role at St. Marcus Church and School in Milwaukee. In 2016, Mark and Wendy moved to North Carolina where they are members at Tree of Life in Cary. In addition to serving these church bodies, Mark has been a member of the boards of Wisconsin Lutheran Child & Family Service, Wisconsin Lutheran High School and Wisconsin Lutheran High School Foundation.
Mark began his professional career at the largest Wisconsin-based bank, First Wisconsin, in 1981 after graduating with an MBA-Finance from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Over the ensuing 18 years, Mark “climbed the ladder” at the bank. By 1999, Mark led the largest commercial banking group in the bank and was an Executive Vice President.
In 1999, Mark was recruited to become CEO and a board member of a de novo bank, First Business Bank – Milwaukee. He was one of the bank’s organizers leading the effort to raise the bank’s initial capitalization of $10 million. Mark led the bank for three years before selling his interest in 2003.
In 2003, Mark was asked to join an internal audit and accounting consulting firm, Jefferson Wells, as VP-Operations. Jefferson Wells is owned by ManpowerGroup, Inc. At the beginning of 2005, Mark was promoted to President and COO. Due to the success at Jefferson Wells, Mark was asked to redesign ManpowerGroup’s global sales business. Working with McKinsey, Mark led a global team that re-engineered ManpowerGroup’s sales model. Mark then led ManpowerGroup’s Global Client Solutions business until he retired in 2015.
Mark has served on several civic and for-profit boards. Mark is currently a member of the board of directors for The First Tee of the Sandhills, The Country Club of North Carolina and for IEWC Global Solutions, Inc. – a Wisconsin-based, 100% ESOP-owned global company with nearly 500 employees.
Mark played competitive golf for twenty-five years. He is married to Wendy and together they enjoy playing golf, gardening and caring for their three parrots.