Transfer growth can be fast, but conversion growth is almost always slow.
The advent of bigger and bigger churches is not a sign of spiritual hunger as much as a sign that today’s Christians like gathering in larger groups.
That’s not necessarily bad or good. But it’s not growth, it’s consolidation.
3. We’re Not Taking Advantage Of The Strengths Of The Small Church
Again, from the article:
Pause for a moment.
Go back and re-read that paragraph if you need to.
Almost half of very small churches had 10 converts per 100 attendees, but less than one in five medium to large churches did!
With such a significantly higher rate of conversions coming from very small churches, why is there such a relentless push for churches to get bigger? Shouldn’t we be studying, learning from, championing and multiplying smaller congregations?
Certainly, when a church does happen to grow numerically it makes sense to learn the principles of breaking growth barriers so we don’t lose the gains or put a cap on the increase.
But adapting to a larger size is very different than pushing for, even insisting on a larger size. Especially when the most important aspect of growth – conversions – is being done far more often in smaller congregations than bigger ones.
4. Facts Are Our Friends
For decades, the church growth movement has correctly emphasized that we need to pay attention to the facts, not our biases, then adapt our methods to fit those facts so we’re doing what works, not just what’s comfortable.
I have always agreed with that approach wholeheartedly – even when the facts didn’t match my preconceptions.
But what do we do when the facts have shown, yet again, that smaller congregations make more converts per 100 people?
Shouldn’t we be more curious about why smaller congregations have a higher rate of new converts than bigger churches?
Then, shouldn’t we use what we learn from them to do things differently? Or have we become so comfortable with the advantages of newer, larger churches that it’s hard for us to even see the value of doing church smaller?