This speaker mentioned getting saved and raised in a church that has been on a relentless growth track for 25+ years and counting.
The way the speaker put it was, “I’ve spent my entire Christian life in a mission-minded, continuously-growing church. It’s in my DNA. I don’t understand how churches can be okay with anything but that.”
And there’s the challenge. If your entire ministry has been in one type of church – even a great church – there’s no way to understand the challenges or the blessings of another type or size of church.
This church leader doesn’t have the experience to understand that the reason small churches aren’t on a relentless growth track isn’t because they’re less passionate about the Great Commission.
Without taking the time and effort to step out of our own environments and see the struggles other congregations face, there's no way any of us will ever have an accurate picture of the wider church body.
I don’t want this leader’s church to struggle. I’m grateful for their growth and impact. But we will never understand churches that aren’t like the one we’re used to unless we make the conscious effort to find out.
We all need to step out of our narrow circle and spend time with those who’ve had challenges that are different from ours.
4. Determine To Look With Grace, Not Judgment
We find what we’re looking for.
If we’ve convinced ourselves that small churches are lazy, we’ll find plenty of evidence to reinforce that. If we’re convinced that big churches are compromised, we’ll find evidence for that, too.
A judgmental attitude reinforces itself and grows harder. But a grace-filled heart determines to find the good.
When we determine to find small churches that are active, healthy and mission-minded, we’ll find them. Likewise, when we’re determined to find uncompromising, Bible-believing, grace-filled big churches, we’ll find those, too.
5. Point Out The Good In Both
Good churches seldom make headlines.
It’s far more titillating and attention-grabbing to point out the flaws and sins.
I’m not saying we should sweep the sins of the church under the rug. Not at all. There’s been way too much of that. They need to be exposed to the light of day, repented of and, if possible, we need to recompense the victims.