Your Healthy Church May Be Staying Small Because …
1. You're a Shepherd, Not a Rancher
We all have different gifts. Not all pastors have the administrative gift-mix that is required to lead a church of 400 or 4,000. Few do, actually. As I describe in The Grasshopper Myth, I don't have that gift-mix either. If I have to spend more than a couple hours a week on financial and administrative decisions, my spirit starts to shrivel a little. And a pastor with a shriveled spirit is not a good pastor, no matter how big their church is.
If you're a shepherd, be a great one and help your small church be a great church.
2. The World Needs More Great, Healthy Small Churches
If we didn't have healthy small churches, what would the alternative be? Is anyone proposing that we close them all down and only have churches above a prescribed number of attenders? If so, what would that number be?
Does anyone really believe that when Jesus said "I will build my church" what he had in mind was a world filled only with megachurches and cathedrals? No. I think Jesus foresaw something similar to what we have today (without all the petty territorialism and infighting, of course). A world filled with all churches of all sizes for all sorts of people.
3. Your Congregation Wants to Be Pastored By Their Pastor
Most healthy big churches work hard at growing bigger and smaller at the same time. They do the "grow smaller" part through small group ministry. But many people thrive better in their spiritual lives when they can be pastored by their pastor, not just a small group leader. They're not wrong for needing that.
Pastors of larger churches need to delegate much or all of the personal pastoral care to under-shepherds - and it's appropriate that they do so. But that isn't for everyone.
4. Many Unchurched People In Your Community Won't Go to a Big Church
No one church can serve everyone. There are a lot of people who prefer a large church with all the amenities. But there is a large and (if recent trends on millennials are any indication) growing segment of the population that distrusts the corporate vibe they feel on megachurch campuses.