The Big “Meh?” In The Middle Of The Church Size Debate

Small churches are great, but not everyone needs to be invested in the debate over church size.

Here’s a frequent question I get from small church pastors.

“How do I tell my congregation that our church is better off being small without sounding like I’m settling for less?”

Here’s the quick answer.

You don’t.

Small is not a selling point. It’s a reality, but it’s not the issue.

I talk to pastors about the value of churches being small because so much of pastoral leadership teaching is obsessed with a big-church mindset. For pastors, recognizing that we can do great ministry in small settings is extremely helpful, even paradigm-shifting and life-changing.

But church members don’t need to know about the small/big divide.

It’s not a big issue for them. It’s more likely to be met with a shrug than an agreement.

The average churchgoer doesn’t need to be told that small is better. First, because it’s not. Second, because they just don’t care. Nor should they.

But they do need to see what’s good about being small.

  • Don’t start with “small is good because we can have deeper relationships,” just emphasize and encourage deeper relationships.
  • Don’t tell them, “small is better because we can have more face-to-face discipleship,” just take advantage of face-to-face discipleship.
  • Don’t tell them what’s great about being small, show them.

That’s enough.

(Photo by Sutha Kamal | Flickr)

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