Church Buildings

The Counter-Cultural Statement Of a Strategic Small Church

The church I pastor will probably never be a really big church.

Not because we don’t want to grow. We do. And we are.

But, given the specific combination of gifts, location, property, demographics and God’s call on our church, small works better for us.

And we’re not alone in this.

Many churches are in situations like ours. Their smallness is not an indication of failure, it’s the best way for them to do the ministry God is calling them to do.

Do Ministry FROM the Church, Not Just IN the Church

If your church is blessed to own a building, everything you do with it – and especially outside of it – tells people something about your church’s priorities.

For example, last week I was at Starbucks with a church member when he introduced me to a friend. The friend asked me, “so what church do you pastor?”

Me: Cornerstone.

Him: Where is that?

Me: Just around the cor-

Random guy coming up behind him: The one with the skateboard ramps.

Yep, that happened.

If your church is blessed to own a building, everything you do with it – and especially outside of it – tells people something about your church’s priorities.

Our Church Is Too Small

Why is our church known as the one with the skateboard ramps? Because ministering to the youth of our community is a high priority for us. There are a lot of skateboarders around us, but no other skateboard parks in town.

Your see, our church building is too small to hold all the ministry the Lord wants us to do.

Every church building is. But it’s especially true in churches with a small building. Or no building.

If you were to visit our church and sit in the last row, there would be no more than five rows ahead of you – with all the chairs set up. It’s a small room.

For years, I butted my head against a wall (sometimes literally – ouch!) trying to trying to get a bigger building for our church to worship in.

But we live in an expensive city. If we sold our current church property of less than one acre, we could get an easy $3 million for it. But it would cost us an extra $3 million to buy a property double this size, $6 million to triple our size. And we’d still have less than three acres. If we could find three acres – and that’s a big if.

So we started asking ourselves a few questions. If we could find such a facility and if our middle-class church of 200 could somehow raise the extra $6 million, would that be the best use of all that time, energy and money? We decided it would not be.