Changing Your Attitude About the Small Church

By May 13, 2016Church

This is America so bigger must be better.

We build bigger homes with bigger yards that require bigger lawn mowers. But, as we all know, bigger isn’t necessarily better.

  • A bigger waistline
  • A bigger debt

Though I currently pastor a church that many would consider large (that’s called perspective!), I was born and raised in a small church. I’ve been the “senior” pastor on a staff of one. Since I was the only paid person, I was the senior pastor by default.

Because of my background, I have always had a soft spot for small churches.

In an article for Leadership Journal, Karl Vaters writes about the need to change our attitude about small churches. Here are seven ways he says we can begin to acknowledge the role of small churches within the kingdom. I’m leaving a brief summary beneath each point and would encourage you to read the entire article.

1. Acknowledge that Small Churches Exist.

If you go to the average church leadership conference, you’re unlikely to hear anything for small churches … We spend so much time congratulating and tweaking big and megachurches, we forget that very few churches even have a full time pastor, let alone a worship team or youth leadership.

2. Acknowledge that Small Churches are Normal.

Small churches aren’t a problem. They also aren’t a virtue or an excuse. But they are the normal way most Christians choose to worship, learn, grow and minister.

3. Acknowledge that Small Churches Have Value.

While big churches can do things small churches can only dream of, small churches do great things, too. They multiply faster, baptize more people and send more believers into ministry per capita than big churches do. All while fighting constant feelings of inferiority.

4. Acknowledge the Feelings of those Who Lead and Attend Small Churches

Stop talking down to us. Stop feeling sorry for us. Stop assuming we’re doing everything wrong. Celebrate churches that are growing without demeaning those that aren’t. Celebrate churches that are growing without demeaning those that aren’t.

5. Acknowledge the Unique Needs of Small Churches

Big churches and small churches have different needs. And they require different resources. There’s a huuuuuge market out there for books, blogs, curriculum and other resources to help small churches do great ministry. But it remains mostly untapped.

6. Acknowledge Our Massive Numbers

Over one billion Christians worship Jesus in small churches. 90 percent of the world’s churches are under 200 in attendance. 80 percent are under 100. Small churches need to know they’re not alone. 

7. Acknowledge the Contributions Small Churches Make

When was the last time you went to a conference in which a small church was celebrated for the great work they’re doing? Most of us have never seen it. This is a massive oversight that must change. If you pastor a large church, or write and teach church leadership principles, reach out to the small churches around you.