Christian Unity
Big Churches And Small Churches: Contrast Without Criticism
Church leaders need to understand the differences between churches of various sizes. So we can work together, not tear ourselves apart.

Big churches and small churches are very different.

Not in their mission, their doctrine or their value to the kingdom of God, but in many of the ways they fulfill that mission.

They're pastored differently, they utilize people's gifts differently, they reach their communities differently. And so much more.

So, if we're going to encourage, support and resource churches of all sizes, we need to talk about those differences. Otherwise, pastors of one size church will try to do ministry in ways that are suited to churches of another size.

No More 'Us vs Them' – Just 'Us'

Sometimes we need to highlight the differences between church sizes in order to lead them properly.

Sometimes we need to highlight the differences between church sizes in order to lead them properly.

"Big churches do something this way, while small churches do it that way" needs to be a regular part of our leadership learning and dialog.

But highlighting those differences should never be done in an 'Us vs Them' manner.

We need to learn how to contrast without criticism.

People in almost every other field of endeavor (like cooks, contractors, publishers and scientists) know this. They regularly compare, contrast and utilize different ingredients, tools, fonts and methods to become better at what they do. Leaders within the body of Christ need to have a similar approach to our extra-biblical differences.

Our Differences Strengthen Us – Or They Should

In a recent post, Why Do We Criticize Large Churches?, Phil Cooke wrote about the tendency for some church leaders to criticize large churches just for being large. In it, he points out that it's just as wrong to criticize small churches for their size, too.

I'm with you, Phil. And I hope everyone reading my post and yours will join us in this simple plea.

If you love and serve Jesus, you're my friend and my family. Big churches and small churches may be different, but those differences, while significant, are good, not bad. They're a strength, not a weakness. You’re a hand or an ear, I’m a foot or an eye.

In the end, the mission that unites us is stronger and far more significant than the things that make us different.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

July 28, 2017 at 10:13 AM

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