As long as your preferences are about positive opportunities, not negative excuses, it doesn’t matter what size of church you go to.
Let’s admit something to ourselves. All the arguments we have over church size are about our personal preferences, nothing more. Apples and oranges.
There is zero evidence to suggest that big or small churches are more biblical or more effective, no matter how much we want to debate it.
While some studies show that small churches have more new converts, adult baptisms, calls into ministry and missions giving per capita than big churches, others suggest that big churches do many of those things better and more consistently than small ones.
One person insists that the New Testament church model is all about small, relational groups, while another points to the large crowds that followed Jesus and gathered on the Day of Pentecost.
Both are citing the same Bible. Maybe because both models are represented in the Bible.
Why can’t it be as simple as “you like doing church big, I like doing it small?”
(As an important caveat, if you’re making a house church argument, that is a different and worthwhile debate with valid theological merit. That’s not about size. But once you accept, as I do, that it’s okay to do church in an owned or rented facility, with the typical pastor/congregation model, the size argument in those churches is about preference.)
You Like (And Dislike) Different Churches Than Me
One person likes the array of opportunities, technical excellence and crowd exhilaration of a big church. Another person likes the intimacy, the relationships and the access to the pastor that the small church offers.
In the same way, we each dislike different things about church sizes.
I’ve seen people try to make a theological justification for why small churches are failures, or why big churches are unbiblical. But it’s usually just another version of “I don’t like them, so you shouldn’t like them either.”
Timothy Keller put this beautifully when he stated “Most people tend to prefer a certain size culture, and unfortunately, many give their favorite size culture a moral status and treat other size categories as spiritually and morally inferior.”
Sure, there are bad reasons to prefer a big church. Like using the crowd to hide and stay passive, or a pastor chasing crowds to stroke their ego.
But there are bad reasons to prefer a small church, too. Like wanting to stay in control or not wanting to reach out.
As long as your preferences are about positive opportunities, not negative excuses, it doesn’t matter what size of church you go to. Or minister in. Or invite your friends to.
Source: Christianity Today
Featured Image: OnMilwaukee
Inset Image: ericaxel | Flickr