Why are most churches small?
The common wisdom is that they’re stuck. They’re broken. They must be doing something wrong. If they’d get their act together and fix what’s wrong, they’d start getting bigger.
Certainly, all of that does apply to many churches of all sizes. So we can never dismiss the possibility that the church we serve may have static numbers because we might be making mistakes that can be fixed.
But I want to propose another possible reason why most churches remain small – even those that are doing the right things.
(This article is a partner to a previous post, This May Be The Most Disruptive, Counterintuitive Truth In Church Leadership Today.)
Maybe most small churches stay small because small is the best option for them.
- Because small aligns with their mission.
- Because small fits their members’ needs.
- Because small allows for more people to use their gifts.
- Because small is how most Christians work well together.
- Because small is the best way to reach their community.
Because small works.
Maybe most churches are small, not because there’s something wrong, but because that’s what makes the most sense for the work they’re called to do.
This is not an excuse for doing less-than-excellent ministry.
We can never ignore obvious problems, no matter what size the church may be.
But if you take a hard, cold, honest look at the small church you serve, and you see
- Active members
- Helpful ministry
- Passionate worship
- Life-changing outreach
- Engaging fellowship
- And deep discipleship
maybe your church’s small size isn’t a problem to be fixed. Maybe it’s one of the ingredients that’s allowing all of that to take place.
We need to be open to the possibility that smallness might not be due to a spiritual deficit, faulty leadership or structural issues.
In many cases, small might be a strategic advantage.
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