Stop Being Impressed with the Size of Churches (large or small)

Thursday is for Church Planting

Ed GrossEd Gross is a friend and fellow trainer of church planters. I saw a slightly shorter version of this on his FaceBook™ feed and asked him if I could post it here as a guest blog post. He agreed, after taking a day “to clean it up a bit.” The questions at the end are mine.

Ladies and gentleman, your brother in Christ, Ed Gross:

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt.18:19-20).

Some people thrive in Mega-churches (2000+ attenders). Others prefer the dynamics of a Large church (500-1999 attenders). Still others feel more at home in the Medium-sized church (167-499 attenders). Yet many prefer the community and “knowability” of a small congregation (35-166 attenders). And there are lots of thriving “home” churches (3-34) all over the world at present.

House Church WorshipThere are positives and negatives at every level. Most agree that worship “feels great” in a mega church setting (especially when everyone knows the words!), but many feel unloved or unnoticed. They are also notorious for blindly accepting church discipline cases from other congregations who “run” there for anonymity’s sake; several mega churches have never had a real church discipline case.

Large churches get some of those worship “plusses”, but the person still gets to know others.

Medium-sized churches are noted for “getting things done”, as good ideas are implemented without having to go through tons of bureaucracy and the wheels of progress turn more quickly, while still having enough “muscle” to pull it off.

Fellowship is the big “plus” in Small churches, though families often complain that there “isn’t enough here” to meet the needs of their youth and children.

Discipleship is the prime motivation for Home churches, though service there looks “different” than in larger churches. And some complain of lack of worship resources.

The bottom line is, that in the final analysis, none of this matters. It’s all personal preference, and some will prefer some elements while others feel differently. The reality is, that the DNA of Christ is in the church through the Holy Spirit at every level. That’s what the above verses from Jesus in Matthew are saying. His life is able to express itself in different ways to different groups.

It’s also true that each sized church is able to evangelize, either in the assembly or out in the greater community. The purpose of DNA, after all, is to reproduce itself. Whether that happens through large church invitations or small church mobilizations, it happens.

So rejoice in the church life God has given you, at whatever size or dynamic. And do your utmost to submit to “the Christ of the place” (as Walter Wangerin put it), and express His life through your yieldedness to Him in that setting.

  • Is it really necessary to critique one size church (or preference) to celebrate the size of another?
  • Why can’t we celebrate how God uses all different types of Churches?

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