What‘s the best church size?
Many church leaders might argue that, whatever your size, “just a little bigger” would be better.
Many house church attenders would propose that smaller is better.
There are followers of John Wesley’s Rule of 150 who make a good case for the idea that limiting a local church to 150 people is ideal.
I don’t have an answer for that question.
Because I believe the question is flawed.
It’s incomplete at best and absurd at worst.
About Church Size and Shoe Size
To get an idea of why “what’s the best church size?” is a bad question, let’s ask the same question about something else.
What’s the best shoe size? The best dress size? The best shirt size?
A basketball fan might look at Shaquille O’Neal’s mammoth size-22 feet and argue that bigger is better. While a fashion designer might look at how well her dress hangs on a Size One model and argue that smaller is better.
The only way to get the right answer to that question is to ask a better question. It’s not, “what’s the best shoe size?” It’s “what’s the best shoe size for your feet?”
In the same way, the real answer to “what’s the best church size?” is “please, rephrase the question.”
A Better Question About Church Size
Size is a far less important factor in measuring church health and success than we’ve made it out to be.
Even this blog, which comes from a small church perspective, isn’t based on the premise that smaller is better. It’s about being a champion for churches that are often marginalized because of their size. Smaller isn’t better. It’s just under-represented.
Nevertheless, church size is a major identifier for this blog and, as the subject of this post, I’ll offer some examples of what I think are better questions regarding church size.
Instead of asking “what’s the best church size?” we need to ask “what’s the best church size for a given situation?”
The best size for one church may not be the best size for another church. Even the church right across the street.
Better questions might include
- What’s the best size for the people our church is called to reach?
- What’s the best church size for this pastor’s leadership gifts and calling?
- What’s the best size for our church’s purpose and philosophy of ministry?
But, maybe more than any of those questions, we should stop worrying about church size entirely.
What if, instead of debating if our church is big enough or small enough, we asked this question – how can we be the best possible church for our congregation, our neighborhood and the glory of God at the size we are right now?
We need geat churches in all sizes. That’s the answer we’ve been looking for.
Copyright © 2017 by the author or Christianity Today.
Click here to read our guidelines concerning reprint permissions.
Pivot is a part of CT's
Blog Forum. Support the work of CT.
Subscribe and get one year free.
The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.
Join in the conversation about this post on Facebook.
- A Discipleship Strategy Small Churches Can Actually Follow, with Darrell Stetler (Ep 38)Darrell and Karl talk about the importance of discipleship in the life of the church – and as a central role in our calling as pastors.
- Why Proximity and Longevity Matter in Pastoral Ministry, with Alan Briggs (Ep 36)Karl interviews Alan Briggs, a pastor, the author of Staying is the New Going, the host of the Right Side Up Leadership podcast and StayForth.com.
- Seculosity: Ministry In The Era Of Secular Religion, with David Zahl (Ep 37)Karl Vaters interviews David Zahl, author of Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about It.
- Should You Start a Podcast? And Positive Ministry Trends, with Aron Utecht (Ep 35)Karl Vaters interviews Aron Utecht, a pastor and the host of the Good Ideas for Churches podcast