Big Church, Small Church. Is one better than the other? In this conversation, we talk about the valuable lessons we’ve learned from comparing church models.
ECP Show Notes – EPISODE 003
Big vs. small church
“The fight is the same everywhere…we’re trying to figure out how to speak compellingly to people about robust kingdom life and then develop patterns of community life that invite people in…”
“There’s no escaping the spirit of our age…we are trained to be consumers…”
“One of the things that this conundrum did to us is it forced us to wrestle with a theology of vocation…’church participation’ is not always an accurate index of how people are participating in kingdom life…”
“Pastors notoriously measure the wrong things…you can’t measure every facet of discipleship…”
“One of the things that we constantly wrestled with [in our small church context] was hubris—pride… that we were the pure ones… when we saw that we had many of the same warts as other churches it was a real moment of reckoning… it made us humble…”
“The temptation in the megachurch is attributing success to attendance…sometimes we put on a big event and a lot of people flood in, and it feeds a part of my soul that is not good for me… because I start feeling like that is the moment of success…the megachurch is prone to events and the ‘big thing’ that feeds our ego…”
“Having a building full of people is not the end goal…”
“The tension of every church is the tension between simplicity and hospitality…there’s a point at which simplicity becomes inhospitable…”
“There’s a lot of self-righteous behavior in the church…we had better start working together or we are going to die alone…”
“Reality is always more interesting than caricatures…”
“A lot of this boils down to lazy analysis…even surveys and statistics, you can’t totally trust them because they don’t tell a whole story…you have to press in and look a little bit closer…”
“Here’s the bottom line: our desire is the same… let’s take care of the people the Lord sends us… and that’s the common ground…”
Questions for you and your team
1) What are some of the ways that consumerism has impacted your model?
2) How do you and your team understand “the bullseye” for your ministry work? Does that understanding need to shift in any way?
3) What are the unique temptations and vulnerabilities of your model?
4) How can you more clearly articulate kingdom-life into your context and develop patterns of community that match that kingdom-life?
5) What are some ways that you can begin to learn from other church models?
One thought on “Episode 003: Big Church & Small Church”
Measuring success other than by attendance is interesting. While a regular member at Radiant for 30 years, most of my personal ministry and calling has been Chaplain to prisons, nursing homes, and rescue missions. These and family often limited involvement in official Radiant activities. Nevertheless, the church, pastors, members were, and are, an integral part of our spiritual growth. Thus, the church was successful in its purpose. Sometimes not measurable by numbers.