A bottleneck is a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. The term bottleneck is taken from the ‘assets are water’ metaphor. As water is poured out of a bottle, the rate of outflow is limited by the width of the conduit of exit—that is, bottleneck. By increasing the width of the bottleneck one can increase the rate at which the water flows out of the neck at different frequencies. Such limiting components of a system are sometimes referred to as bottleneck points.
Bottlenecks are one reason the church can’t grow to full capacity in the current model. It’s not that the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t appealing to more people. It’s that the mode with which the American church choses to operate is driven to a single bottleneck: The worship service.
With a clearly defined bottleneck and the low trust, high control primary management style of most in church leadership– we are seeing other negative non-monetary economic principles come into play.
- Depreciating returns – As we apply the same tactics to the same demographic, as time goes on our returns diminish.
- There is an inverse relationship between staff/building expenditures & church attendance which is resulting in the bubble bursting in many churches and denominations. (Infrastructure outgrows capacity and the organization implodes fiscally)
3 non-prescriptive solutions to finding church growth
- Embrace a high trust, low control management-style.
- Create additional entry points to biblical community. (Non-worship service endpoint)
- Capitalize on Americans culturally hard-coded draw to good news.