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When Is a Church a Small Church?

How we define it, and if we want to be one.

Our excerpt from a John Koessler interview on small churches really struck a chord with some of you this week. And that shouldn't surprise me, since I know a lot of our readers hail from smaller congregations.

But for me it raised the question, when is a church a small church?

Lyle Schaller sets the threshold at 125 people for the purposes of his book Small Congregation, Big Potential. The back covers of a couple of other titles–Shepherding the Small Church and Help for the Small-Church Pastor–implicitly peg it at 150. And Chuck Warnock says his Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor blog is for "churches with up to 300 in attendance."

Of course, in order to throw any number out there, you have to decide:

1. What distinguishes a "small church" from everything else? Is it the lack of a full-time, resident pastor? Is it having only one worship service? Or when everyone in the church knows everyone's else name?

2. At what attendance level, generally speaking, does begin to change?

And we can debate ...

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