Some form of organization in a larger church must link the crowd to the leadership core

C. Some form of organization in a larger church must link the crowd to the leadership core; the resulting form of organization can be used to identify five basic paradigms or “base designs” of churches.

  Temple Base Design               TBD    (worship priority)

Chaplain Base Design             CBD    (nurture priority)

Academic Base Design           ABD   (learning priority)

Network Base Design             NBD   (connectional priority)

Program Base Design[1]            PBD    (activity/program priority)

Cell Churches represent a Network Base Design. Chaplain Base Design churches usually have less than 100 in worship; Program Base Design churches usually have more than 300 in worship. Mid-size churches blend CBD and PBD traits in tension.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Neighbor, Where Do We Go, 57-76. Neighbor’s paradigm label inspired the others.

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