What is an Average Pastor?

It was nearly three years ago that I started this blog on the average pastor.  Since that time this blog has been viewed over 7,000 times and has over hundred of followers.    The response to this information has been so humbling and encouraging.  The success of this concept of the Average Pastor has proved one thing:  Average Pastors are looking for resources for the average church experience. This is why we published The Average Pastor book which is being enjoyed by pastors around the US. Here are some of the testimonies from those who have read the book:

  • “I can not put it down. I hope all of my Facebook friends that Pastor a “Small Church” buy it immediately! You will not be sorry.”
  • “The book is phenomenal and I highly encourage every medium to small church pastor to read this book. You’ll laugh, perhaps occasionally tears will well up, but ultimately you will identify with Pastor Isgrigg’s words and experiences.”
  • “Some great stuff packed into a small book – if you pastor a small or midsize church grab a copy off of Amazon today and be encouraged.”

With more and more exposure to this concept of  being an “average pastor,” some people still misunderstand why we use that label.  So as a reminder, I want to share the first chapter in the book to remind people what we are talking about. You are average, not because you are mediocre, but because your experience as a pastor of a church of under 200 is the average experience of the average pastor of the average church in America.

You Are Average

No that is not an insult. It is the data. If you are a pastor of a church of under 100 you probably feel small. The recent trend of mega-churches and multi-site churches has made you feel this way. Not to mention that all the pastors conferences are focusing on these churches. But it is not true. You and I are not small church pastors. We are Average Pastors of Average Churches.

 

What is average? When it comes to describing quality, people often think of average as being the middle of the road: not exceptional but not terrible. But in statistics, average is a statement of what is typical. It is not a value statement for quality, it is a numerical statement of quantity. Average is the number that represents the most common result of a given range of data sampled. On a bell curve, the average is where most people are. This means that the most common human experience is the average experience, not the exceptional experience.

One of the first leadership books I remember hearing about was “The Enemy Called Average.”[1] Nobody wants to be labeled as “average”, especially not pastors. Everyone of us believes that we will be the exception to the rule. We want to be the one that starts a church that grows to 10,000 people or who takes over a struggling church and builds it into a mega church. Every pastor I have ever met has always started thinking they were that person. I have come to realize that my experience as a pastor of 100 people is the rule, not the exception.

Consider the data:[2]

  • 8% of churches are 100 people or less[3]
  • 2% of churches are under 250 people
  • Average church attendance is 76 people
  • Only 2.4% of churches are over 1000 people
  • 62% of pastors of less than 100 people are full time
  • Average salary is $31,000 for FT pastor[4]
  • 72% of churches under 100 have an annual income of less than $100,000[5]

The Barna group tells us, “Despite the enormous cultural impact of mega-churches and mega-church pastors like Joel Osteen and his 40,000+ Lakewood Church, the largest group of American churchgoers attends services in a more intimate context. Almost half (46%) attend a church of 100 or fewer members. More than one-third (37%) attend a midsize church of over 100, but not larger than 499. One in 11 (9%) attends a church with between 500 and 999 attenders, and slightly fewer (8%) attend a very large church of 1,000 or more attendees.”[6]

What these stats tell us is that the pastor of a church of 100 is normal. It is average. The truth is the mega-church and the large church are both very rare. They are the exception, not the norm! Yet, have you noticed everyone expects all churches to grow to a mega-church? Have you noticed that the conference speakers are always pastors of the exception, not the norm? Have you noticed all the books written by the 2% and not the 98%? Why are so few resources available for the pastor leading a volunteer staff or the church in the rural community?

Average is the normal experience for most pastors of most churches. It is not a problem to be fixed, its normal.

If you are reading this, chances are you are an Average Pastor. Average is not a sign of poor leadership, difficult people or lack of God’s blessing. Average is the normal experience for most pastors of most churches. It is not a problem to be fixed, its normal. It certainly has challenges, that when compared to the experience of larger churches seem to be huge disadvantages. But those challenges are simply normal challenges. If we continue to compare ourselves with the exception we will always feel like a failure. But if we can compare ourselves to the normal church experience, we will see we are not failures at all. We are normal churches with normal challenges to be faced with faith and courage. You are an Average Pastor with an average size church in America. And that is OK!

 

[1] John Mason, “The Enemy Called Average” (Insight Publishing, 1990).

[2] http://www.thearda.com

[3] http://www.thearda.com/conqs/qs_295.asp

[4] “The 2012-2013 Compensation Handbook for Church Staff” Christianity Today, 2011, p. 35.

[5] http://www.thearda.com/conqs/qs_314.asp

[6] https://www.barna.com/research/state-church-2016

 

The Economics of the Average Church

MoneyMatters_categoryGraphicOn this blog we try to focus on the average experience for the average pastor. So much of the church world is focused on the exceptional experience of the most successful churches. Many of the experiences written in leadership books usually reflect the 5-15% of pastors who pastor churches of over 200.

One place where the experience of the average pastor is most profound is in finances.  Nothing is perhaps more of a struggle for the average church than church finances.  My experience over the past 6 years has been a good one.  It has always been a struggle but we have managed our finances well and have had very few crisis moments. For that I thank God and my leadership team that has helped me navigate that.  My church pays me a full time salary and I have several part time staff members we are able to give a small weekly salary to.  But, I know even my experience is the exception.  For many average pastors, they would love to have even my experience.

The economics of the average church are difficult considering a couple of factors:

  • The average church is America is 80 people.
  • The average giving per attendee per month is between $80-$100.
  • The average church in America can only sustain one full time salary (if they can afford it at all) and only at the attendance level of 120 are they able to hire someone to help them. For example, 60% of churches in my state are pastored by bi-vocational pastors. These churches cannot afford to pay a full time salary.
  • Churches that are under 100, if they can pay a pastor full time, usually have to devote between 45%-55% of the income to the salaries, where as larger churches can be 35%-50%.
  • Many average churches are in smaller communities that do not have professional jobs available to people. Smaller communities are only getting smaller. And small churches are only getting poorer.

The economics of the average pastor and average church presents a unique set of challenges that small churches have to face:

  • You are expected to do more with less – People visiting your church expect you to have everything a larger church has, but with only a fraction of the resources.  We simply can’t keep up.
  • The pastor is expected to be just as committed to church life, despite the fact that 60% work jobs outside the church.  There isn’t enough time in the day to be working on developing vision, programs and people like  churches that can support a full time pastor.
  • The pastor usually is dealing with the burden of both the church and their own family money pressures.  Its a double edged sword for most pastors.
  • Many of the burdens of the menial tasks and issues cannot be solved by hiring people or buying a new one of something.  That means more energy is given to keeping something going by doing it yourself or going without.

Average Finances in the Average Church

As frustrating as the above challenges are, some economic realities also come into play for the average church verses the larger church.  If the average church is 80 people and the average per capita giving is $100 per month, then your average monthly income is $8,000.

  • If you pay a pastor, its $3,000 – $4,000 per month (45%-55%).  That is about the average salary for churches that can afford a full time pastor.
  • If you have a mortgage, a good range is 30% of your income; $2,500.
  • That leaves you $1,500-$2,500 for other expenses taxes, insurance, utilities and emergencies.  There is not much room for purchases, additional staff and luxuries like advertisement, hiring people to do lawn care, etc.

However, the example given above of $100 per month per person is the exception.  $80 per month for 50-70 people might be more normal for most of the average pastors I know.

  • Total income would be $4,000-$5,600 per month
  • Pastor’s salary could only be $2,000-$2,800 per month
  • Plus a mortgage, utilities, etc.
  • It is a real challenge to have a great church that offers lots of things and does lots of ministry when you barely can make your financial obligations!

Here is the reality of the average church and economics.

If you lose a family of 4 for whatever reason (move, go to another church, etc), you stand to lose $300-$400 per month for that one family leaving.  If you lose several families in a year, you could lose up to 15-20% of your income.

  • That could mean not buying a new computer for the pastor. So he buys it himself
  • That could mean the church not paying the pastor’s medical insurance (if they are able to at all).
  • That could mean not being able to pay a part time kids pastor or worship leader.
  • That could mean not doing an outreach that would cost $300 or not spending money on an event for the church.
  • That could mean not being able to buy ink cartridges to print bulletins.
  • All of these are realities that average pastors deal with simply by losing one family.

On the flip side, if it is a church of 300 people and the average income is $24,000 per month and they lose one family ($300 pm), you may not even notice it.  It doesn’t change whether or not you pay insurance, whether you can buy printer ink, whether you can by curriculum.  In many ways, a larger church may not even notice an average family giving an average amount in an average month.

The Blessings of Average Church Finances…

Yes, there are some! Its not all bad news and difficulty for us average pastors. There are some benefits I have found for average church economics:

  1. I am forced to be creative.  I used to just buy everything. Now I think of ways to do something without the option of buying it.  For example, most of my stage designs cost less that $25 because I buy things at the dollar store or borrow them from others.  Once you get used to not buying things, you appreciate the value of creativity.
  2. I am forced to use people.  Its easier to hire someone to mow or fix plumbing  or clean the church or build something.  But when you don’t have money, you look to the people in your church to chip in.  I have found that there usually people who enjoy those small tasks that make a big difference.
  3. I appreciate what giving means.  Every dollar has a face in a small church.  I see hard working people giving because they love God.  Therefore I respect each dollar. Its precious and is a gift of worship. The fewer dollars you have, the more you appreciate the people who give them.
  4. One family can change everything.  Because losing one family affects the average church so much, gaining one family can also help so much. For us, there is a huge difference between 70 people and 90 people.  Gaining three or four families can take the stress off and allow us to do so much more. There is a lot of hope that one of two families can bring.

The Expert You Need to Listen To

expertThe Expert You Need To Listen To

The church world is full of experts. Ever since the church growth movement began, there has been a rise in the number of “experts” that church leaders listen to.  For church growth is was Willow Creek. For leadership today the expert is Andy Stanley. For church statistics it is the Barna Group.  For church issues some may say its Carey Neuhoff or Thom Rainer.  For small church issues, I argue that our expert is Karl Vaters and newsmallchurch.com.  Chances are as an average pastor, you are looking to the experts to help you lead and grow your church.  I appreciate these leaders. I have learned from many of them. But I realized this week that there is one expert that we as average pastors tend to neglect.

What is an expert?

I am a bit of an education nerd.  Many years ago God put it in my heart to become a PhD.  So for the past few years I have worked toward this. I have a bachelors and a masters in Theology and I am working on a PhD.  The goal of doctoral work is to become an expert on one small particular point of theology that no one else has studied or published about.  What a PhD says about you is that when it comes to your topic, you are the expert.  People can talk about similar issues as you, but on your particular issue, you are the one who knows best on the subject.

You have a PhD in your church!

Who knows your church the best?  Chances are YOU do!  You certainly can learn about church matters from the experts mentioned above.  But the reality is that you are no different than them.  They became an expert through the process of becoming an expert in their own churches.  All of Andy Stanley’s wisdom comes from becoming an expert in being the Pastor of NorthPoint.   All he is doing is telling his story. Pastor, you are expert on your church.  You know the history better than anyone else. You know the strength and weaknesses. You know the people assests. You know your community.  A great pastor is one who becomes an expert, not on the principles that make Andy Stanley’s church work, but on what makes your church work.  When it comes to the church you pastor, nobody is better equipped to know what your church needs than you.

“A great pastor is one who becomes an expert, not on the principles that make Andy Stanley’s church work, but on what makes your church work.”

It is time for you to start listening to yourself!  You are an expert!  Lead with confidence.  He didn’t pick Andy Stanley to lead your church. He picked you.  Listen to your own heart for what God has for your church. Trust your own instincts and expertise.  Embrace yourself as the person who is best equipped to know what your church needs.  God has made YOU the expert.  He will help you lead your church into what He has planned for you.

They Always Come…And They Always Leave

Hello-Goodbye-Doormat1I love it when a new family visits our church.  It is exciting, isn’t it?   I am not totally sure what our retention rate is, but we seem to have one or two people or families visit every month. Sometimes they stay.  In 2014 we had 8 families/individuals come but we also had 7 families/individuals leave.   It is wonderful when people come.  It is not so wonderful when they leave.  We all have experienced that. It stinks!   Sometimes its for good reasons. Sometimes it’s not.  Pastor Josh Mauney has a great post  about how we feel when people leave.  You should read it here: The Most Honest Post I Know How to Write

For an average church, having one family join could represent a 5% increase in your church’s membership.  If you add two or three families your church has the potential for 10-15% growth in one year.  That is the power and impact of each and every family. Our church lost 3 families in October.  That was 16 total people, nearly 15% of our church gone in one month. That is hard to deal with. These were highly involved and faithful people. Two moved for jobs and one was just ready to move on.  We loved all three.  I hate that they are gone. But my experience tells me that others will come.  They always come…and they always leave. That is just how it works.

Our Average Church has been slowly growing over the past 4 years. In October of 2010, we had 39 families or individuals that called our church home for a total of 94 people.  Four years later we have 51 families/individuals that call our church home for a total of 110 people.  We have slowly added families and individuals. But we have also lost families and individuals.  In fact, from 2010-2014, we have only 17 families (43%) who have made it with us these past 4 years.  The ones we started with account for only 33% of our current congregation right now.  Were I to study it more closely, my guess is we probably turn over a third of our congregation every year or so. That is tough on us Average Pastors.  Just when we gain momentum, one family leaves and it takes it all away.

As I have tried to deal with this reality I have learned a few thoughts that make it easier:

  • Every family matters–  I had to realize that at some point that family chose to come here and contributed at some level. They are part of our story. They are important and I need to be thankful for them.
  • They came from somewhere – We have had some wonderful people come. We have had wonderful people go.  Every time I have to remind myself and our leadership team, they came from somewhere. They left another church and pastor who probably grieved when they left.   We cannot praise God when a family comes and be mad when they leave.  We need to rejoice in both.
  • They are His people, not ours –  We don’t own people.  I realized that most people these days only come to us for a season.  We are stewards while they are here.  Cherish and appreciate them. And when they leave, graciously turn them loose.
  • They all will leave – Gone are the days when church members are born in a church and die there.  They all will leave.  You will too one day!  Every pastor, staff member and church member will leave the church they are at.  Be gracious with those who leave.  Love them and celebrate them.

We have had many wonderful families come and go in the past 4 years.  Some were only here for a season. Some moved away. Some just didn’t want to be at a small church anymore.  I have learned to roll with the ebb and flow of families coming and going.   I learned to rejoice when they came.  And now I am able to rejoice when they leave.  I still grieve, but I can do it with thankfulness. Because in the end, they always come…and they will always leave.

Average Churches = Lots of Ministry, Few Jobs

job-search-570x422
Average pastors many times are trying to run a church by themselves. We need help. Lots of help.  I have been fortunate to have had people come to my church who have had experience in ministry or have credentials who were not currently in ministry.  They all had one thing in common: They had a regular job, but wanted to be in ministry.  I have been blessed to use many of them in areas of ministry that we needed them for.  But in four years of leading my church, I have not been able to give any of them a ministry job.  I want to, but I can’t.  Our church can only support one salary.  Yet there is so much ministry needed in our church.

This is the great dilemma for the average pastor.   We are overburdened with roles and responsibilities that hinder our effectiveness.  We need the help of lay people and experienced ministers for our churches to be effective.  Some churches have no one to help besides lay people. I have known churches that would love to even just have one experienced person to fill in when the pastor needs a break.  Yet there are experienced pastors sitting in congregations all over you town. They are waiting for ministry jobs.

The average church is great place for people who want to do ministry even if there is no job for them.  Retired pastors, we need your experience.  You can help with the operations and use your skill with the older generation, a vital role in this modern church era.  You have a great role to play as a cheer leader for your church’s future.  In-between ministers, you can serve with your skills in small ways that bring fullness to your church.  Even if it is just doing communion or teaching a class, you bring strength to the leadership team and your unique gifts.  Young ministers can find a place to start out where the stakes are not so high.  Smaller churches give you the opportunity to serve without the pressure to perform.  You can learn and grow with your congregation.

This is the reality of the average church. There is lots of ministry, but very few jobs. We need help. But we haven’t grown to the place to be able to afford help.  Although I have had experienced men and women who have been able to contribute, I have wished for the opportunity to be able to share ministry with them on a day-to-day basis.  But I have no jobs to give them.

If you are in this situation (and I am sure you are) here are some realities I have come to grips with:

  • We are not large enough to provide ministry jobs.  If your church is around 100 people, it is unreasonable to have more than one paid pastor.  Its hard enough to pay the pastor.  That is just the reality.  I can be frustrated about it or change my expectations for my reality.
  • We can give ministry opportunities that big churches can’t.  In churches of multiple staff, the opportunities for non-paid ministers to contribute is minimal.  Usually people with pastoral experience end up just being attenders.  In my church, if they have something to contribute that we need, I can use them.  Even if it isn’t a job.  All of my staff are basically volunteers who serve outside their 40 hour a week jobs.
  • We can give ministers a refreshing break.  When people with ministry experience come to my church, it is always for a season.  We are either helping them heal, giving them space for normalcy, or helping them find new callings.  The average church can be a great place for ministers to contribute in the in-between seasons.
  • We can give young inexperienced leaders a place to start.  With part-time or volunteer ministry, you can give people opportunities lead that larger churches cannot.  I have had two first time worship leaders, one first time youth pastor, and one first time children’s pastor. All this was made possible because we are small enough to use someone without investing a salary in them. We are raising up new leaders.

For those reading this who may be out of ministry for a season, here is some thoughts for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to serve part-time.  You have gifts we need.  We can’t pay you, but it is a win-win. We need your gifts, you need the ministry outlet.
  • Don’t wait for a job to do ministry.  Find something you can do even if it isn’t exactly what you are best at.  I admire ministers who love the church enough to do the things they ask the people they pastor to do.  I need help with little things and big things. And they all matter.  You can help.
  • God has a plan for you.  Don’t be afraid to go to a smaller church to serve. God knows where you are.  There is nothing that says you are more or less likely to get a job based on the size of church you volunteer at.  He will open the door for you for the next assignment.

One final thing I have learned.  It is not my job to make people’s dreams come true.  Pastor, relieve yourself of the responsibility of making things happen for the called people around you.  I would love to give everyone a job or a title that feels called to ministry in my church.  But that is not my job. My job is to lead my church and ask, “God, why have you given me this person for this time.” Match your needs with the people he has given you to the best of your ability. That is all He asks of you.

Who told you your church was small?

smallest

A few days back I was playing legos with my 6 year old son on the floor.  We were talking about this and that.  Then out of the blue he asks, “Dad, how many people are in our church. 1000?”   I chuckled at his question.  I responded, “No son. We have about 100 people.” I wondered how he would feel about that response. Would he be disappointed?  He looked up from the legos and said, “Wow! One hundred people?  We must be famous or something.”   It totally made my day.  My son was impressed by the size of our average church.

At some point someone told you your average church was small.  Perhaps it was another pastor. Perhaps it was a book or resource on church growth. Perhaps it was your own expectations of what your should be. But at some point, someone told you your church was small and you believed them.  For me, I told myself.  Coming from a “large” church with multiple staff and lots of ministries, I knew I was coming to something “small.”   And when I got here it felt that way because of what I was used too.  Of course the reality is that our church is not small at all.  It is average. It is normal.

The amazing thing is that when I stand on the stage on a Sunday morning, our church doesn’t feel small.  Even when we were just a group of 55 in a room with 175 chairs, it really didn’t feel small when I was in the pulpit.  Monday through Friday it did, but not on Sundays.  It still doesn’t.  Perhaps that is because we try to have just the right amount of chairs set up to help it feel full.  Perhaps the room is a good size for a church of 100.  For me, I think it is more than that.  Our church doesn’t feel small because when I am on the platform I see the faces of  the people God gave me.  Those 80-100 faces are what church feels like to me.   It just feels right for our church.  They chose to be there…with me!   As my son would say, “We must be famous to have those 100 people.”   I think he is right.

The Difference Between Vision & Mission

mission-and-vision-statement
You have heard leadership experts say it:  Every church should have a mission statement.  Wait…or is that vision statement?  What is the difference?  I am confused…or at least I was.  But I found out the difference between a mission and a vision for our church. Maybe it will help you as well.

One of the most important things for all churches to understand is why they exist.  Until a church understands this they will never live out their true potential.  Each church has it’s own DNA much like each human being has a unique DNA that makes them who they are.  And who they are will determine what they do.

My church leadership & I went through a one year vision process through the Assemblies of God revitalization program called Healthy Church Network.   One of our tasks was to come up with a vision statement, a mission statement and a list of values.   As our team discussed these things, it was clear that we understood our values (our church culture), but were not really sure of our mission and vision.   Dr. Ron McMannus and the Healthy Church helped clarify that for us.   Here is what I learned:

Our Mission –  Mission of the church does not change. It is the mission Jesus gave his church. It is the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the great commandment (Matthew 22:37).  We are to make disciples, to love God and  to love people.  No matter your denomination, style or location, we all share this mission. So here is what we came up with:   New Life Center’s mission is to make disciples who love God, love people and reach others for Christ.

Our Vision –  The vision the unique role that our church plays in the body of Christ.  No two churches are the same. So what makes your church unique?  What are you best at?  Why did God want your church to exist and why did He call you to pastor it?  For us we identified three things that made us unique from the church across the street. So our vision is:   New Life Center’s vision is to be a Spirit-filled, multi-generational & community-focused church.  

For us our vision statement helped us define our DNA:

  • Spirit Filled – Our church would be a place that emphasized the Pentecostal tradition of Spirit filled worship and culture.
  • Multigenerational –  Our church is a place where every generation can feel at home.
  • Community Focused – Our Church values partnerships with existing community organizations over attractional outreach events.

Many other churches with us in this HCN process picked vision statements like:  “Love God, Love People” or “Connect, Grow, Serve”.  While the application of that can be very useful as a church and easy to remember, it doesn’t necessarily reveal the church’s identity.  All churches should “love God and love People.”  For us, it ultimately didn’t help us define what God wanted us to be because it was too generic.  Our vision was what we wanted to be.   Our vision statement is the standard by which we can determine if are the Church God wants us to be.  No matter our size, if we fulfill this vision, we are what God wants us to be.

To me this is the difference difference in vision and mission. From the standpoint of mission, we all look the same.  In our vision, we each are different to meet the different needs of people and our community. As an average pastor, I would encourage you to take your key people through a process of discovering your unique vision for your church.  God made you unique!  Embrace who you are and what He is calling your church to become.

You Are Average…And That’s OK!

average-employee-skillsWhat is average?  In the area of quality, people say average is the middle of the road. Not exceptional, not terrible.  But in mathematics average is a statement of what is typical.  It is not a value statement for quality, it is a numerical statement of quantity.  Average is the number that represents the most common of  range of data sampled.  On a bell curve, the average is where most people are.

Everyone wants to above average. We want to be exceptional.  But the reality is that in any area of life or business, the majority of people will be in the range of average.  This means that the most common human experience is the average experience, not the exceptional experience.   Average is our reality.  It is the world most of us live in.  And it will always be that way.

In the church, no pastor wants to be average.  Everyone of us believes that we will be the exception to the rule.  We want to be the one that starts a church that grows to 10,000 people.  Or who takes over a struggling church and builds it to a power house.  Every pastor I have ever met has always begun thinking they were that person.  But that is not the average pastor’s experience.  That is the exception.

Consider the data:

Survey by Association of Religion Data says: (click here)

– 63.7% of churches in america are under 100 members

– 19.4% of churches are between 100-200 members

– Only 16.9 % of churches are over 200.

National Congregational Study says the median size church (the average church) is 75 people.   Barna tells us that on any given weekend, 60% of believers in Jesus worship in a church that is fewer than 90 adults.

That means that the “average” pastor in America pastors a church of under 100 people.  That is normal for our country.  Yet in this day of mega churches, multi site and multi staff churches, it feels like the average pastor is not average at all.  When we compare ourselves with the large church we feel like failures.  The truth is, the mega church is not only below average, it is very rare.  It is estimated that only 2% of our churches are over 1000 people.  They are the exception, not the norm!

So why is everything in our culture telling us we are small?  Why are all the conference speakers always pastors of the exception, not the norm?  Why are all the books written by the 2% and not the 98%.  Why are all the podcasts addressing the needs of the 20% who have multi level staff, large system churches?  Why are so few resources available for the pastor leading a volunteer staff or the church in the rural community?

Average is not a sign of poor leadership, difficult people or lack of God’s blessing.  Average is the normal experience for most pastors of most churches.  It is not a problem to be fixed, its normal. It certainly has challenges and when compared to the experience of larger churches it has disadvantages.  But the advantage that the large church experiences is a place of privilege and exception, not the ideal for every church.  If we continue to compare ourselves with the exception we will always feel like a failure. But if we can compare ourselves to the normal church experience, we will see we are not failures at all. We are normal churches with normal challenges to be faced with faith and courage.

Some of you will end up exceptional.  Your church may grow to a big church or a mega church.  I hope you will.  But the rest of us will continue to be normal.  We will continue to be average.  And average is OK.