When Church Growth Perceptions Don’t Match Small Church Reality (Infographic)

Church leaders have a lot of ideas about what the numerical growth of a church - and therefore its size - says about that church's success and value. Many of those perceptions don't match reality. This infographic addresses some of those misperceptions.

Perception RealityChurch leaders have a lot of ideas about what the numerical growth of a church – and therefore its size – says about that church’s success and value. Unfortunately, many of those perceptions don’t match reality.

For example:

True, Small Churches have been perceived that way at times – sometimes by their own pastors. But one of the goals of NewSmallChurch.com is to challenge such misperceptions. Because perceptions have a way of becoming reality if we’re not careful.

So far, we’ve presented ideas and advice about the uniqueness of Small Churches in The Grasshopper Myth, over 200 written blog posts and a growing collection of podcasts and videos. But the one way we haven’t expressed it is in the visual format known as an infographic.

Until now. 

This post has been UPDATED. Scroll past the infographic to see the update.


Reality Perception Infographic

Or you can click the picture below to get it in a wide format that fits on a single screen or page.


Big Church Small Church Perception Reality Infographic (wide - medium)

It’s on a white background to make it easier for printing.

UPDATE: I’ve been asked why I used the number 350 in the first section of this graphic, when I’ve used a lower number in other writings on this subject. This statistic is highly disputed. It could be anywhere from 200 – 350. Since so many small congregations around the world report to no one, any attempt at an accurate measurement is an educated guess, at best. Because of that, the number of people worshiping in smaller churches is vastly under-reported and I sometimes factor that likelihood into the numbers I use.

Even though I believe 200-250 is more likely, I used the higher number of 350 here and in The Grasshopper Myth because this graphic and the book are more permanent, stand-alone documents. Even though a lower number would strengthen my argument, using 350 leaves less room for push-backs and controversy, since it’s the number most commonly used by researchers And it still supports the underlying premise of the post – that far more people worship in Small Churches than most of us realize.


For further reading on these topics and their implications for ministry, check out these blog posts:


So what do you think? Are you aware of any other reality / perception differences between Big Churches and Small Churches?

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(Infographic designed by Karl Vaters)


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