I came across this number when I was reading recently and found it challenging. According to the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, it is the number of significant relationships that the human brain can cope with.*
Like any theory this argument has been challenged and clarified, but the core idea makes sense – we can only process and hold a limited number of relationships. As a church we’re not far off this 150 limit. When we did a recent MSC audit we found out that there about 80 people committed to MSCs (including children) and a further 40 or so who regularly come along and are becoming increasingly involved. There are also a number of people part of Kairos who aren’t yet in an MSC. All this is good news! It means more people are discovering God as they connect with us. It is also a challenge – especially for those of us who like to know everyone. At the size we are now we can probably just about know everyone who is part of our church, but that may not leave much space for getting to know people who aren’t yet Christians and who may well need a friend just like you.
I want to challenge us to be thoughtful about our relationships. When I look at Jesus actions in the gospels I see someone who would give time to anyone but who would be very prayerful about those he really invested into. When he sends out the 12 and 72 he encourages them to do the same.
Are you trying to get to know everyone in Kairos? It might be time to stop, and to focus on going really deep with a few – not least your MSC. Be strategic about your relationships and be asking God: “Who do I need to invest some time into in right now?” and “Who do I need to ask to invest into me.?”
Have a great week! Ben.
*If your interested the book was Connected: The Amazing Power of Social Networks and How they Shape our Lives
The crowd image originally came from James Cridland onflickr.