What Is The Grasshopper Myth?

 What is The Grasshopper Myth?

Buy The Grasshopper Myth bookThis is the book I wish someone else had written for me when I started out in ministry. I’d have also gone back to it for help during the times I’ve struggled in ministry.

It challenges some of the presuppositions many have held about church growth, church size and church success. It offers real-life examples of the struggles that are unique to Small Churches and their leaders, and it offers practical suggestions from many sources, including my 30+ years of pastoral ministry.

It includes a 12-page Discussion Guide, making it perfect for book clubs, church staffs/boards, classrooms and more.


What’s Up With the Title?

Seriously. How does a book about Small Church ministry end up with a title like The Grasshopper Myth?

I’ll let the book answer that question for you, with this excerpt from the opening pages:

What is The Grasshopper Myth?

Definition: The false impression that our Small Church ministry is less than what God says it is because we compare ourselves with others.

Origin: The Hebrews at the edge of the Promised Land. 

All the people we saw were of great size… We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. – Numbers 13:32-33

Symptoms: Lack of vision, faith, courage, effectiveness and freedom.

Prognosis: A lifetime of wandering, whining and placing blame. And yes, it is contagious.

Treatment: There’s a New Small Church in town – a place of hope and healing.

We’ve discovered the benefits of thinking small. And it’s got nothing to do with small thinking.

We’ve come to realize that our small size is not a problem to be fixed, but a strategic advantage God wants to use.

We’re heading out with vision, faith and courage into places God wants us to go.

Places giants cannot tread.


Box of booksThe grasshopper myth (the idea, not the book) is the lie many Small Church leaders tell ourselves. We see big, bigger and megachurches popping up all over the place, then when we glance back at ourselves we seem like grasshoppers “in our own eyes”.

That’s where the myth starts. Inside us. And that’s where it has to end.

The Grasshopper Myth is available in print and as a Kindle e-book.

We’ll also have a way that people can sponsor a books for a Small Church pastors who can’t afford it. Check the Book Sponsorship page for info.

– Karl Vaters

24 thoughts on “What Is The Grasshopper Myth?”

  1. Don’t know if God called me late or I was deaf early, but was called out of a church’s membership to their pastorate. Rural area – hard because if I flame out, I have no place to go without being the stinking carcass over which the next pastor must incessantly step.

    You’re right. “Small in their own sight” is a trap for small churches, and even when we’ve been at 45% baptism/membership ratio, some large churches think our insistence on depth/growth is a dodge to resist their numbers arguments. We seem to have forgotten Philip’s trip to witness Christ to one Ethiopian. Thanks for encouragement that we’re merely small, not unimportant.

    Getting the book (“Grasshopper”) inmediatamente!

    1. Your first paragraph is a jewel. Thank you so much for making me laugh so hard. I needed that, and the reason it is so funny is that it is so very true. God Bless your big ministry.

  2. I just looked at your video from TBN and am inspired. I, too, have been called late to ministry and have much catching up to do. Having always been a member of a small church, your interview helped me realize that is not a problem. Small can be great; it is all in God’s eyes.

    Thank you for opening mine.

  3. i pray, i can have a copy of this book, its really liberating and great blessing as a pastor of a small church here in Philippines

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  5. I am planting a new church in the Woodbridge, VA community. Even from a church plant standpoint, you have encouraged me to allow God to just have His way. I often feel like I am looked down upon in the community of pastors because I am (1) bivocational and (2) starting from the ground on up.

    I plan to get this book in the near future.

  6. As I look at a picture of our small group of 13 adults and 14 children taken after a Sunday service on a beautiful summer day in 1987, your post is very encouraging, because the LORD visited us mightely! I believe that our firely love for Jesus is what brings on the blessings, regardless of the size of the congregation!

  7. out of my 25 years experience as a pastoral minister, those churches that are mega today may have had a humble background but the leaders then pressed on because they aimed at reaching their goal and above all building and strengthening the body of Christ. Even the small will reach and impact the body of Christ which is the main role of the church.

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  11. Sounds very similar to my own experience. Always a pleasure to see great things in small applications. Thanks for yielding to that inner urge to write these things down in a scroll!

  12. Herbert Moloantoa

    Awesome ? this book can change the world. How many Pastors feel and compare themselves with mega Churches? The race ? to be successful in numbers. A lie contrived by the enemy to mislead us. We need Caleb to transform our mind-sets. Be blessed.

  13. Hi Karl – My name is Samson Moraba, bi-vocational Pastor of Word Alive Church, in Boksburg, in South Africa. The Church size is around 135. I have enjoyed reading your various articles on God’s strategic purposes with Small Churches. I also thought it was indeed a problem to be fixed, so as to improve the effectiveness and impact of bringing people to the knowledge of Christ. I look forward to reading your book : Grasshopper Myth. God Bless you for filling this gap in the Church. Samson

  14. Bringing divisions in church is bad.. Pride and small human knowledge destroy Gods plan for us. As am from Bhutan the member of the oldest home church here in paro Bhutan. And lots of the children of God done. Divisions in this church. Do pray as we don’t know to to bring them back don’t know what to do as we have keep all things in Gods hand may Gods will be done

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