smallchurch

Is it OK for your church to be SMALL?

Karl Vater has an interesting article at Christian Today today on “How to Tell if a Small Church is Strategic or Stuck).

One of his points is that some churches are ‘small for a while’.  Vater writes:

This is the spot most small church pastors think they’re in. I know I did. For over two decades in three different churches I thought serious growth was just around the corner. It was a long corner.

As it turned out, my church was small for much more than a while (it still is), so we started being intentional about it.

But some small churches are only small for a while. The problem is, no one knows how long that will last. So here’s my suggestion.

While you’re a small church, be a great small church. Don’t put all your energy into growth. Work on health. It’s better to become a healthy church that grows than an unhealthy one that grows, right?

If your church is small right now, but is being healthy during the time you’re small, you’re not stuck, you’re strategic.

Most churches in America are small.

There are 300,000 churches in America.  If every person in America went to church this Sunday, each church would only have just over 1000 people in attendance.

That’s a LOT of churches.

And a LOT of small churches.

I agree with Vater that most pastors think their church will only be small for a while.

And most never turn the corner from small to ‘larger’ (whatever that means).

We’ve equated small churches many time with words like unhealthy, stagnant, dying, or stuck.

And we sure have our share of those kinds of churches.

But we also have a bunch of churches that are healthy, pastored by a guy (or gal) that feels guilty that their church is small.

That’s too bad.

Small isn’t necessarily bad, as Vater says, if you’re healthy.

And that’s the problem for many of us (myself included) many times.

Can a church remain small and truly be ‘healthy’?

If people are consistently being introduced to Jesus, shouldn’t the numbers grow?

And if people are being discipled to be more like Jesus, shouldn’t that spark some semblance of evangelism and growth?

In many churches, growth is happening, but the numbers don’t show it.  More people are simply moving away than moving in. Sometime you have to grow 20% to grow 10% on paper. The growth chart looks to be stagnant.

On the other side, some churches are so inwardly focused on growing deep that they ignore that world they are called to reach. They think they’re healthy… and I would tend to differ.

So… how do you describe a healthy church?  What makes a church healthy?

And have you spent time feeling guilty just because your church is ‘small’?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

todd

SOURCE:  Read more from Karl Vater here at Christianity Today

 

One Comments

  • Joel Zehring February 9, 2016 Reply

    “So… how do you describe a healthy church? What makes a church healthy?”

    The quick answer: Jesus makes a church healthy. When all the believers in a church (not just the leaders) submit to his lordship and his leading and allow him to express himself through the group, health, growth, multiplication, and sustainability are natural byproducts.

    I’m still intrigued by the minimum requirements necessary to be considered “church.” I think believers go off the deep end in complexity (leadership, staffing, programs, events, etc) sabotaging their health in the process.

Leave a Reply

31 Total Shares
Tweet
Share22
Share7
Pin
+12
Current Events Humor Leadership Staffing
decliningchurch
Declining and Growing Churches Differ in Theology

A study of growing conservative churches and declining mainline churches found...

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11:  A homeless man rests in a pew at a Times Square church where some area homeless take refuge from the cold on December 11, 2013 in New York City. New York and much of New England has been experiencing freezing temperatures with snow expected this weekend. According to a recent study by the by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, New York City's homeless population increased by 13 percent at the beginning of this year. Despite an improving local economy, as of last January an estimated 64,060 homeless people were in shelters and on the street in New York. Only Los Angeles had a larger percentage increase than New York for large cities.  (Phot
Churches Open Their Doors to the Homeless in the Winter

There are over 550,000 homeless throughout America, and churches throughout cities...

printing-press
Printing Press Helped Martin Luther Go Viral

As Martin Luther posted his 95 theses against the sale of...