The body of Christ is made up of many parts.
Various denominations, liturgies, styles, and sizes.
And nowhere is that variety more evident, more delightful or (let’s be honest) more frustrating than in the amazing menagerie of small churches.
Big churches matter. Medium-size churches matter. Small churches matter. But, since small churches often get fewer resources and attention than our large church counterparts, it’s important to be reminded why small churches are just as vital to the body of Christ as big churches are.
Here are 7 reasons:
1. Small churches are the most common expression of the gathered body of Christ
Up to 90 percent of all churches are under 200, 80 percent under 100. That’s a lot of small.
Fully half the Christians in the world attend small churches. And, in the places where Christianity is increasing as a percentage of the population, you’re more likely to see the multiplication of small churches than an increase in the size of large churches.
2. Small churches are the most widely spread
There are a lot of places in the world where big churches just don’t work. Like in places of extreme poverty and persecution, or regions where the gospel message is new. Plus, there are cultures where small and subtle sends a better message than big and noticeable.
Small churches fit everywhere and work everywhere, so they exist everywhere.
3. Small churches are the most duplicable
Starting or growing a big church is extremely hard. Starting and sustaining a healthy small church is much, much easier. Not easy. But not as hard as big churches.
4. Small churches are the most leadable
Imagine the differences between one church of 1,000 and 20 churches averaging 50.
There are 1,000 believers in each situation, but the church of 1,000 only has the capacity for one lead pastor and a few staff pastors. And those leaders need advanced levels of training and/or experience.
The 20 churches averaging 50 will have as many as 20 lead pastors, many of whom don’t have much (or any) formal training, but who are called, gifted and capable to serve as the lead pastor of 50 or so people.
5. Small churches are the most affordable
Big churches cost big money. Sometimes, the per capita cost of a healthy big church is less than the per capita cost of a small church – but only when the small church is unhealthy.
Healthy small churches can and do function on surprisingly little money.