Don’t Do Church Small, Do Small Church Really Well

fingerSmall Churches. We may not be what you think we are.

Yesterday I had a short conversation with a fellow pastor / denominational leader.

“You know Karl, I read your book recently and really liked it,” he told me.

So far, so good. I’ll take that whenever I can get it.

Then he continued.

“But I have a confession to make…”

Despite our amiable, but limited relationship, I knew what he was going to say next. Because I’ve had this conversation before with other pastors.

“Until I read your book, I’d heard that you had a ministry to Small Churches. But I had the wrong idea about it…”

He paused and let the words sit there, so I finished his sentence for him.

“You thought it was about little churches settling for less, maybe even complaining about the big, bad churches out there…”

“Yes, I did!”, he responded. “But it’s exactly the opposite of that, isn’t it!”

Yes, it is.


What’s the Difference?

I don’t blame my fellow minister for the initial misperception. As I told him, if I were in his shoes I would probably have had the same initial impression about a ministry to Small Churches. In fact, I did.

So if you’ve been slow to embrace the idea that Small Churches can be great churches, I get it.

If you haven’t read The Grasshopper Myth yet, or you’re new to the ministry of, let me take this short post to challenge any presuppositions you might have, too.

Ministry to Small Churches is not about doing church small. It never has been and never will be. It’s about doing small church well. Really well.

So what’s the difference between doing church small and doing Small Church really well?

Here are two starter lists to give you an idea. Many of these points are linked to previous posts that explain these ideas in more detail.


Doing Church Small…


Doing Small Church Really Well…


To close, let me say a final word to any discouraged pastors of Small Churches.

If You Pastor a Small Church, Know This…


So what do you think? Have you ever had a change of heart and mind about the value of Small Churches?

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(Finger Manicule photo from Kyle van Horn • Flickr • Creative Commons license)

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Do Church Small, Do Small Church Really Well”

  1. The small church that God honors is the small church that knows how it fits in God’s big picture. A small church’s greatest strength is often discovered to be its leaders’ ability to disciple the next generation of leaders in an intimate setting. Only when future leaders have a safe place to explore the callings of God and to grow their leadership abilities is church of any size truly done well. A small church that launches or encourage hundreds of other ministries is in actually no mere small insignificant church. It has the potential to be a bigger world changer than the largest mega church.

    Influence and success should actually be measured by how much you multiply yourself. Look at the life of Paul. His actual ministry team was never large as far as we know; his influence came by his willingness to support an ever growing network of churches. Also, note his main concern was never their physical size, but instead, his deepest hope for them was that they grow spiritually strong and that they know how to share the gospel with people in the most powerful of ways: their actions. Paul wanted believers to move beyond mere words of profession toward the ultimate goal: Christ’s glory so strong on a life that men and women from all walks of life could see the difference Jesus makes without one word being spoken.

    Just a handful of followers in a small church totally committed to a path of complete surrender to God’s will can move mountains. Even more powerful still is the small church that is concerned not only about its own mountains but with ALL mountains and does everything it can to empower others to not just chip away at the darkness but destroy it once and for all.

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