If you have an aversion to large churches, then this article isn’t for you. But if you are open to the possibility that large churches may be better than small churches, then read on.
I’m aware some may think that all I’m interested in is BIG, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m a proponent of large churches because I passionately want to see the Great Commission fulfilled in my lifetime and small churches have proven to be unsuccessful in making this happen. Large churches are simply more effective at spreading the gospel. Even the missional people have realized that their brand of ministry is possible only with the support of the larger churches.
So why are large churches more effective in making a difference than smaller churches? As you read on, you’ll find it’s not because they are bigger; it’s because of the way they go about doing ministry.
Large Churches Don’t Have Bullies
Almost every dying church I’ve worked in has had two or three bullies who did whatever it took to keep the church under their thumb, which resulted in a small, dysfunctional church. Remove them and the church could grow. Everyone in the church knew that these two or three people controlled everything the church did, but no one was willing to confront them, including a string of pastors.
But large churches have eliminated all the bullies. That’s one reason the small church becomes large: they purge the bullies for the sake of the gospel, much like Jesus told Judas to go do what he had to do, but not with them. Small churches that become large won’t put up with dysfunctional people who want to dominate. They simply show them the door (and the bully goes to kill some other church).
Large Churches Produce More Leaders (Pastors)
One of the reasons small churches become large is because they have some kind of farm system in place to grow leaders. They see everyone as a potential leader. Their staff scout the membership for the future leaders. They don’t feel as if one has to go to seminary in order to lead. In fact, the church I attend has several ordained pastors who were converted and ordained because of the faithful way they served as a lay person. Many of the effective large church pastors come out of large churches. Small churches produce very few effective leaders. Some do, but most don’t. The goal of a small church is to survive, whereas the goal of the large church is to make a difference in the community and perhaps the world. Most of the pastors produced by the small church have small visions because that is all they’ve seen growing up.
Large Churches Are More Outward Focused
Small churches have enough challenge just taking care of them selves, or at least that is the way most of them act. Survival, not growth, appears to be the goal. Even if the small church is healthy, the focus is mostly on the relationships of the membership, which results more in a caring system as opposed to a transformational system.
Large Churches Have a Greater Influence
Small churches used to be an influence in their neighborhood. But neighborhoods don’t exist today. Instead churches have to have a citywide influence to make much of a difference. The resources it takes to affect a city go beyond the resources of a small church.
Large Churches Produce Most Of The New Church Plants and Multi-Sites
Although it is happening more now, small churches seldom produce more churches. However, most of the new church plants today are being done by large churches. It used to be that most new churches were produced by denominations. But today, denominations are running out of money and aren’t producing one-tenth of the new churches large churches are producing.
Large Churches Are the Hope of the Future
It’s long been an established truth that denominations can’t survive if they don’t produce enough new churches every year to equal three percent of the number of congregations in that denomination. No denomination is doing that today, and neither are small churches. Large churches are producing the vast majority of new church plants today. It’s not uncommon for one large church to be responsible for ten plus churches every year.
One Last Word
What too many fail to realize is that every large church was once a small church. So there is nothing wrong with a church being small for a time. But there is something wrong with so many small churches failing to reach their potential. Are you willing to change that?
Question: What are some other benefits of large churches as opposed to small ones? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.