Let’s Ask Better Questions About Church Size

SizeWhat‘s the best church size?

Some church growth proponents might argue that, whatever your size, “just a little bigger” would be better.

Many house church attenders would propose that smaller is better.

There are followers of John Wesley’s Rule of 150 who make a good case for the idea that limiting a local church to 150 people is ideal.

I don’t have an answer for that question.

Because I believe the question is flawed.

It’s incomplete at best and absurd at worst.


What’s the Best Shoe Size?

To get an idea of why “what’s the best church size?” is a bad question, let’s ask the same question about something else.

What’s the best shoe size? The best dress size? The best shirt size?

A basketball fan might look at Shaquille O’Neal’s mammoth size-22 feet and argue that bigger is better. While a fashion designer might look at how well her dress hangs on a size 1 model and argue that smaller is better.

The only way to get the right answer to that question is to ask a better question. It’s not, “what’s the best shoe size?” It’s “what’s the best shoe size for your feet.”

In the same way, the real answer to the “what’s the best church size” question is “please, rephrase the question.” 


A Better Question

So, what is a better question?

Before I get to that, it’s important to state that size is a far less important factor in measuring church health and success than we’ve made it out to be.

Even this website, which is dedicated to Small Churches and their leaders, isn’t based on the premise that smaller is better. I just want to be a champion for churches that are often marginalized because of their size. Smaller isn’t better. It’s just under-represented.

Nevertheless, church size is a major identifier for this site and, as the subject of this post, I’ll offer some examples of what I think are better questions regarding church size.

It all comes down to adding just a couple words to the original query.

Instead of asking “what’s the best church size?” we need to ask “what’s the best church size for a given situation?”

The best size for one church may not be the best size for another church. Even the church right across the street.

Better questions might include

But, maybe more than any of those questions, we should stop worrying about church size entirely.

What if, instead of debating if our church is big enough or small enough, we asked this question?

How can we be the best possible church for our congregation, our neighborhood and the glory of God at the size we are right now?

Great churches of all sizes. That’s the answer we’ve been looking for.

What was the question again?


So what do you think? Have you ever gotten caught up in the “which size church is best” game?

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(Size 10 Shoe from Robert S. Donovan • Flickr • Creative Commons license)

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