Many people think I’m settling for less when I talk about the value of small churches. Yes, they've actually said that to me.
I appreciate their concern. But they don’t need to worry. I’m not settling for less.
I would be settling for less if my entire goal in ministry was to have a healthy small church. But I’d also be settling for less if my entire goal in ministry was to have a big, growing church.
Most of the dreams we have for our churches are too small because too many of them end at our church doors.
We spend far too much time, energy, work and prayer pursuing the limited vision of wanting our church to grow.
Now don’t get me wrong. A healthy, growing church of any size is an extraordinary and wonderful thing. I am irretrievably committed to the belief that the local church is the primary tool God uses to reach the world for Jesus.
But limiting my work, my energies, my prayers, and my influence to the walls of my church is too small a vision – no matter how big my church is.
Please note that the key word – and main problem – in that last sentence is "my." When the church becomes my church, it is too small. No matter how big it is.
Only Jesus' Church Is Big Enough
We're often told that we need to dream bigger dreams for our church. But I don't think dreaming bigger dreams for my church is big enough.
A pastor with the goal of growing their church is like a cook with the goal of having the nicest set of knives. Sure, a great set of knives is something a chef will get excited about. But having the best knives in the world shouldn't be the goal. The goal is to cook great meals. A great chef only gets excited about a world-class set of knives because they will help the chef prepare better food.
That’s why we need great, healthy churches of all sizes. Not so we can admire the church. So God can use his church to become the places of life-, society- and world-transformation we were meant to be. By God being glorified in them.
If you pastor a church, what goals do you have for it? Whatever they are, our goals for our church will always be smaller than God’s goals for his church.
So I encourage you to do this. Stop dreaming your dreams for your church, and start asking God what his dreams are for his church. And how you and your congregation can be a part of that.
Now that's a big church.
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