Well friends things are moving closer to the possibility of being appointed to a new church start with an "emerging" focus. ( I don't want to get too excited, cause ya'll know how the appointment process and the feeling of steering a battleship)
Anyway, In our neck of the woods (The Pacific Northwest... Specifically Vancouver, WA) we don't see many big churches, at least not what would be considered big in other regions, and especially not in the UMC. As I've been thinking about what would be a benchmark that I would say was a success for a new emerging congregation, I find myself thinking less in terms of numbers in attendance at worship services, but rather in terms of disciples birthed, and compassionate communities created. (say that 10X fast ;-)
In my mind as I wrestle with this call I picture a congregation of 150-200 "members" that would give birth to other congregtions who would in turn continue this process. I would rather see 5 congregations that revolve around a community of 150 people and are missionally involved in the cities they find them selves in, than a single church that fosters the anonymous worshipper seated next to 1500 others. It seems that image addresses the hunger for true community and discipleship that seems to be the strength of the emerging church, at least in my mind.
I'd love to hear from ya'll about your thoughts on what are the benchmarks of "success" in your minds for emerging congregations with in the UMC, and what are your thoughts on the whole "bigger is better" idea Pro or Con.