In a market economy, the company with the best product, price, and service gets the customer. Such is the nature of competition.
Few put it in such crass terms, but increasingly, the American church also operates in a highly competitive environment. Gone are the days of denominational loyalty. Many people today church-hop till they drop. One church member who decided to attend elsewhere brazenly said, "My wife and I want to be in a larger church that doesn't need us to be involved so much."
Where does all this leave pastors? Just ask the person who may feel the competition most acutely—the pastor of the small church located a few miles from a megachurch.
Leadership did just that. We invited Craig Brian Larson, a bi-vocational pastor who serves Lakeshore Assembly of God in downtown Chicago, Illinois, a congregation of thirty-five, to talk about ministering in a small church in a highly competitive church market. We also invited to the discussion well-known church-consultant Lyle Schaller, ...1