Grasshopper Myth: My Church Can’t Compete With Megachurches

Grasshopper Myth #2: My Church Can't Compete With MegachurchesOK, so technically, this one’s true. My church can’t compete with megachurches.

Trying to do what they do on a Small Church scale would, did, and does lead to disaster and burnout.

What makes the statement a myth is that it’s built on a faulty premise. The premise that we’re supposed to be like megachurches, become megachurches, or win some kind of contest against megachurches. None of those are true.

Here’s the truth.

We’re not in competition with megachurches. And they aren’t in competition with us.


Imagine No More Megachurches

What would the world look like if all the megachurches disappeared tomorrow? Would it be a better place? Or worse?

I propose it would be worse.

Imagine the situation in our Small Churches if all the megachurches disappeared tomorrow. Would they be filled with all the people who don’t have a megachurch to go to anymore? Or would they be pretty much the same as they are now?

I propose our Small Churches would look pretty much the same on the Sunday after the megachurches disappeared as they did last Sunday.


Megachurches Aren’t the Reason My Church is Small

My church isn’t small because there are megachurches near us. My church is small because small is what works for us.

Most of the people in megachurches aren’t there instead of being in my Small Church. They’re in a megachurch instead of being at home in their PJs. Thank God for any church that can do that.

Megachurches haven’t stolen people from us. They’ve stolen people from Sunday brunch. From sleeping in. From watching TV.

And no, I’m not naive to the stats about transfer growth. But it’s not all one way. If everyone in our churches were new believers and seekers, we’d have a valid complaint. Otherwise, it’s just jealousy.


This Isn’t a Game

We have to stop looking at megachurches – and any other churches – as competition. Let’s take the word out of our vocabulary. This isn’t a game. And, if it was, megachurches and my church would be on the same team.

Megachurches bring gifts to the body of Christ that Small Churches don’t have. And Small Churches bring gifts that many megachurches are scrambling to regain.

We need them. They need us. A hurting world without Jesus needs us both. And it needs us working together, not tearing each other apart.

So what should we do instead of competing?


Do Quality Work

The appeal of megachurches isn’t their size. It’s their quality and consistency. Small Churches can do that.

It will be a different kind of quality. But that difference is what makes us matter.


Think Small

Thinking small is not the same as small thinking. And it’s one of the foundational truths of New Small Church.

Figure out what you can do well. What advantages do you have because your church is small? They do exist.

Stop trying to do a smaller-scale imitation of the megachurch model. You’re not mega. You’re small. Use it.

Ask yourself this: if every model for how church is supposed to be done was thrown out the window, what’s left that’s uniquely you?

Do that.


Personalize It

Take a look at your neighborhood. What do the the people in your neighborhood need?

Then match your strengths to their needs.

Even if there’s a megachurch next door to you, there are needs in your community that will not be met if your church doesn’t meet them.

Let’s keep our eyes and hearts where they belong. On Jesus. On the needs in our community. And in prayer for every church, as the body works together.


So what do you think? Have you been living as though you’re in competition with megachurches?

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6 thoughts on “Grasshopper Myth: My Church Can’t Compete With Megachurches”

  1. I think you’re right that most small churches wouldn’t see much impact if megachurches went away, Not because those people who attend megachurches would go back to watching t.v. on Sunday mornings, but because they would gravitate to larger churches in their area. If they didn’t, it would imply that megachurches are not a healthy place to be and I’m pretty sure you don’t feel that way.

    Small churches and megachurches share many of the same Sunday morning activities. Where they overlap, I think there are things that small churches can learn from megachurches to actually improve their health. If you agree, I’m curious your perspective. Maybe you could take one or two common small church Sunday a.m. weak-points and elaborate?

    1. You have me pegged right, Brian. I don’t think people attending megachurches would go back to Sunday morning TV if the megachurches all closed. The megachurch that got them out of bed, gave them a relationship with Jesus, and that will keep them going to church, no matter what.

      I’ll think through your suggestion about what Small Churches can learn from megas about Sunday morning services for a future post. Maybe follow it with what megas can learn from smalls, too.

  2. This was very convicting. There’s always a “both ways” to look at things. It’s true that so much of our church growth, be it small church or mega, comes from transfers. Kingdom growth is what it’s all about. May God change us. May God give us a vision – before we have a vision of what we want to become – may He first give us a vision of WHO we already are. We’ve missed that so often trying to strain after something else. Maximizing what God has given to us. I don’t want to fall into the trap and look at a huge church and automatically think, “Boy, God’s blessing them!” Because not all the glitters is gold. I love what Wilkerson said (paraphrasing) No matter how big a church is or how successful it seems to be, if the cross of Christ is not how people come in, it’s not a work of God.’ At the same time, I too often, find myself being critical…and I need to stop it. You know, we live in a rural area – there are no mega churches…there are just MANY churches…most all small. Lots of church hopping takes place. Someone feels uncomfortable they move on. But the other day, as I was going to town, I just began to pray for the churches as I passed them. I prayed that God would anoint their ministers and cause their believers to go deeper. I can’t tell you what a burden it created it me…I FELT His pleasure. Lord, I need more of that.

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