This is not as big a problem as the first two, for sure, but it may be more prevalent.
Big companies may be necessary to keep a high level of quality control for many of the products we buy, but churches that are run like big companies are increasingly seen as a detriment to spiritual growth, not an aid to it.
That’s not the case for everyone (those big churches are filled with a lot of people, after all), but those who feel that way about big crowds are a growing majority, not a shrinking minority.
Numerical growth can no longer be assumed to be the indicator of church health that it previously was.
And if that’s the case, maybe smaller isn’t the problem we thought it was.
Losing Our First Love
The problem with the church isn’t lack of numerical growth.
We’ve lost our first love.
- When getting bigger is more important than going deeper, we’ve lost our first love.
- When professionalism is more important than integrity, we’ve lost our first love.
- When tradition is more important than transformation, we’ve lost our first love.
- When buildings are more important than people, we’ve lost our first love.
- When infighting is more evident than unity, we’ve lost our first love.
- When protecting the powerful is more important than defending the weak, we’ve lost our first love.
Address The Underlying Problem
Our biggest problem is not how many people are leaving our church buildings. So getting them back or clumping them into larger groups won’t fix the problem.
The problem is why they’re leaving. And the solution will only be found when we address those issues honestly, openly and contritely.
Thankfully, we don’t need larger churches, better strategies, bigger budgets or cooler stages to find or fix that problem.
We need genuine worship, true repentance, honest leaders, full accountability, moral integrity, loving hearts, deeper discipleship and a generous spirit.
Any church of any size can do that.
And in some cases, the smaller, the better.
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