Can a church be too big?
Can a church be too small?
Does that mean there’s an ideal size for a church?
No Ideal Size
While there may be an ideal size for a specific type of ministry, a certain location, or a particular leadership style, there’s no overall “best” size for a church.
Some churches get too big when they drift from their mission in a chase after numbers. Some churches stay too small when they spend more time reacting to problems than doing ministry.
These are just two of the dangers of using attendance numbers as the main (or only) gauge of a “successful” church.
It causes big churches to justify what they do because they have the numbers to back it up, while it causes small churches to devalue valid ministry because the numerical increase isn’t there.
Too Big, Too Small
So how can we tell if a church is too big? Or too small?
Here are a few indicators:
A church is too big if the bulk of their finances is put into bigger facilities, more staff and a greater spectacle.
A church is too small if the bulk of their finances is spent in a desperate attempt to hang on to what they’ve got.
A church is too big if an emphasis on mission has been replaced by an emphasis on numerical increase.
A church is too small if an emphasis on mission has been replaced by an emphasis on maintenance.
A church is too big if their attendance numbers are a source of pride.
A church is too small if their lack of attendance numbers is a source of pride (as in “we’re the righteous remnant”).
A church is too big if they think they’re of greater value to God’s work because they’re big.
A church is too small if they think they’re of lesser value to God’s work because they’re small.
A church is too big if they're not stretching themselves because they’ve grown comfortable with their numerical success.
A church is too small if they're not stretching themselves because they’ve settled for less.
Attitude, Not Attendance
Too big and too small are not a matter of numbers, they’re a matter of attitude.
Any church that thinks they’re succeeding in the mission merely because they’re attracting more people is too big.
Any church that thinks they can’t accomplish the mission until they attract more people is too small.
It’s never about the size of the church.
It’s about the size of the mission.
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