Small Church, Big Church

Small Self Righteous

In a post yesterday I indicated a disappointment with the prevailing tendencey to use size of  a congregation as a measuring stick of the value or vibrancy of a church.  It would be easy for some to assume by this defensive posture that I am among those who despise large churches.  Not so.

My home church is a large church – a very large church.  3000-plus members; and roughly that same number in weekly attendance.  It was this church where my wife and I met.  It was in this church where my relatively new faith began to take on roots, and where I learned the importance of global evangelization.  This church is faithful. This church is fruitful. And this church is flourishing.  I am proud (in an appropriate way, I hope) to have been sent out by this church, into ministry.

It is not the size of the church that matters to me, but whether it is faithful, substantive, and bearing fruit comensurate for it’s capabilities.

It is those churches who believe growth itself is the primary objective that disturb me; those who seem to feel that they are doing God some favor by packing people into seats, willing to serve up anything that will draw a crowd, even at the expense of the gospel, and then call itself an expression of the Body of Christ.  I hold such places with no esteem.

On the other hand, I get equally chagrined when I encounter those from small congregations who assume they are somehow better for no more reason than they are  small. (Like the cartoon above.)  While small is not necessarily a vice, neither is it necessarily a virtue.

To paraphrase Paul from Galatians 5.6:

Big congregation or small, it makes no difference. The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.

2 thoughts on “Small Church, Big Church

  1. Dennis is right on. Mary and I were also part of his “sending church” and we experienced love, discipleship and deep fellowship there. God does not allocate His grace only to churches of the right size, anymore than He blesses only the wealthy (or only the materially impoverished).

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