7 Reasons We Need to Move Beyond the Church Size Debate

The size of a church doesn't determine its effectiveness.. (Robert Stokoe/Pexels.com)

Anytime I write about anything dealing with church sizes, some of the discussion degenerates into a debate about the best size church. It happened last week when I wrote some positive words about smaller churches. It has happened in the past when I wrote some positive words about megachurches.

We need all churches. All sizes of churches. We need more churches. It's not either/or. It's both/and. Allow me to point out seven reasons why a debate on church size bears no good fruit.

1. Church health and church size are not synonymous. There are many healthy small churches. There are many healthy large and megachurches. And there are plenty of unhealthy churches of all sizes.

2. Conflict is not unique to a particular church size. Indeed some level of conflict is in every church. There are times where conflict is more visible in the smaller church because everyone knows everyone. But that does not mean conflict is not present, and sometimes intense, in larger churches.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

3. Categorical statements are harmful to the body of Christ. "All pastors of large churches care about are the numbers." "If a small church were doing was it was supposed to do, it wouldn't be a small church." Such categorical statements do no good. Indeed, they do harm. Why should we even participate in such conversations?

4. The body of Christ is diverse; that is good. In First Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul lauds the diversity of the individual members of the body of Christ. Similarly, there is diversity in the congregations working for His glory. Some of those churches are small. Some are mid-size. Some are large. Some are mega.

5. The death of churches is not a function of church size. Obviously, a church gets smaller on its way to death. But that does not mean the church size is the cause of the death. It simply means the church is getting smaller as it approaches zero.

6. Faithfulness and obedience are mandated of all church members. Leave the numerical results to God. He may lead a church to become very large; or He may lead a church to be a standard-size church in the community. Neither size is inherently good or inherently bad.

7. It would be wonderful if churches worked together as much as some churches often criticize others. Our communities may be waiting to see if we churches can work together before the members of the community decide they even want us around.

God gives us small churches. God gives us mid-size churches. God gives us large and very large churches. They are all part of His plan. Let's stop criticizing each other and start working together.

We may be surprised how God will then use us.

Thom S. Rainer is the founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community and resource for church leaders. Prior to founding Church Answers, he served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife, Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art and Jess; and 10 grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders