The Astonishing Power of Small Churches: Fan the Flame

power buttonHow can we activate the astonishing power of Small Churches?

Over one billion people worship Jesus in Small Churches tucked into every corner of the globe. What could we possibly do to light the fuse that would allow us to tap into this astonishing potential?

How would we structure it? What should we tell them to do? And who can we call upon to lead it?

We wouldn’t, we shouldn’t and we can’t.

We don’t need to light the fuse. It has been lit already.

This is something God has done.

He did it without us creating a plan for it. He did it mostly without our cooperation.

He did it with many of us fighting it every step of the way – including me, until recently.

The quickest way to kill it would be to put a person in charge of it. (Actually, the quickest way would be to put a committee blue-ribbon panel in charge of it.)

While we’ve been obsessed with building large congregations, God has been planting Small Churches like spiritual seeds in thirsty ground, into every possible furrow on earth.

We’ve only begun to recognize it, let alone appreciate or utilize it. But there are two principles we can adopt that would help fan this flicker into a flame.


1. Support Small Churches

Let’s refuse to buy the lie any more. Size is not an accurate measure of the health or strength of a congregation. Small Churches need our prayers and support, not our condescending ideas about how to “fix” what isn’t wrong.

Let’s encourage, connect and equip innovative small church leaders (that sounds eerily familiar) as each one plays their part in this extraordinary work – starting by recognizing just how extraordinary the work is.


2. Stay Out of God’s Way

Let’s try not to mess up what God is doing this time, shall we?

This is the one concern I have as I do the work of New Small Church. I pray that, by bringing this extraordinary work of God to light, we won’t be tempted, as usual, to overstep our place and mess this up by trying to help God out. Sometimes I wonder if God does greater work with us fighting against him, than when we try to help him.

The history of the church is filled with examples of our bewildering capacity to mess up what God has started. And the massive flood of Small Churches throughout the world is definitely something God has started.

Maybe the best thing we can do for Small Churches – and the only strategy I can imagine – is to have no strategy at all.

Jesus has brought us this far. He’ll lead us the rest of the way.


How Did We Miss This?

The biggest mystery, to my mind at least, is how so many of us have completely missed what God has been doing through Small Churches.

Not one statistic I’ve mentioned in this series is obscure or even disputed. Not the percentage of large to Small Churches, the number of people in them, their worldwide spread, or their importance in people’s lives.

But, until I cobbled them all together, I never saw Small Churches this way. I’m guessing you’d say the same.

I’ll tackle that mystery in my next post, The Astonishing Power of Small Churches: How Did We Miss This?

Today’s post is Part 3 of a multi-post series this week on The Astonishing Power of Small Churches.

So what do you think? What can we do, or not do, to allow this move of God to stay lit?

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Enter your comment right below this post and get in on the conversation.

(Power Button photo by Roman Soto • Flickr • Creative Commons license)

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3 thoughts on “The Astonishing Power of Small Churches: Fan the Flame”

  1. So tell me brother, how many times did your hands cramp up writing this statement…
    “Maybe the best thing we can do for Small Churches – and the only strategy I can imagine – is to have no strategy at all.

    Jesus has brought us this far. He’ll lead us the rest of the way.”

    I only say this because I choked on it just reading it. Kinda like the statement I believe is credited to Spurgeon – ‘It’s easier to preach ten sermons than to live just one!”
    Not the easiest thing to swallow for us type A folks, but nothing of worth is easy! Especially for the Kingdom!

    Really being blessed by this series, thank you!

    1. Yeah, you know me too well, especially for someone who’s never met me face-to-face.

      My original title for this post was going to be “Light the Fuse”, not “Fan the Flame”. You might even remember that I announced that as the coming title in yesterday’s post (which I have changed since then to reflect the new title).

      It was only after I started writing it that I realized how little control we have of this. And how badly it will go if we try to plan or control it.

      Not an easy realization at all. But it’s the right one, I think.

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