“Better to be a small church full of life than a mega church that is spiritually dead…”
This is a paraphrase of a quote by an 18 year old aspiring pastor that gave the sermon during my church service recently. This young man was full of eloquent words, witty remarks, and bold truths. It was amazing to listen to a young person with such a strong grip on what it means to be God’s church. Something that some people older than him are missing.
Today’s Church Culture…
This saying got me to thinking about church culture in the world today. Some churches are so focused on their rules and regulations that they forget about the bigger picture that God wants us to embrace. Others are basically large country clubs for people to socialize and feel good about themselves. Then there are those real churches, big or small, that you enter the sanctuary and you can feel the presence of God hit you as soon as you cross the threshold. That’s what we need more of today. Churches focused on worship, prayer, and most of all seeking a relationship with as well as the all-encompassing presence of God. After all, isn’t that the entire point of church?
I’m not saying that mega churches are a bad thing by any means and neither was he. There are many very large churches that God is moving through right now. Sometimes, however, people tend to look down on a small church with less than 30 people in the seats as if they must not be pleasing to God or doing the right things. Then they would be bigger.
The truth is that God has His own perfect plans for all of us. Not all churches are meant to be seating a thousand people. Small churches can still change lives and spread the gospel just as well as a large church. Sometimes even better.
Now, don’t get offended by my saying that. Keep reading to understand how SOMETIMES a small church can make a big impact.
CHURCH IS A HOSPITAL FOR SINNERS.
For many people who have been down the wrong paths in life, finally going to church is a scary thing. Church in general can be scary for a person who is recently saved or working towards it. It’s thought of as a place full of perfect people who have always lived perfect lives or at least put on that air. They feel as if they don’t belong or will be judged as soon as they walk in the door.
So, if they already feel that way about church in general, then how do you think they feel about walking into a church surrounded by hundreds of church-goers? A little threatened, right? Sometimes a small church is less threatening, especially if it’s a true bible based, family in Christ kind of church. Then people can walk in the doors, probably with a little anticipation, and not feel lost in a sea of faces. They will be greeted and loved on by the church as a whole just like they were being welcomed home by family. When they struggle, there is an entire community there to support them and keep them strong.
SMALL CHURCH. BIG IMPACT.
I personally have seen people from all walks of life come in and out of small churches over the years and better assimilate and feel more at home than walking into a larger church where they may go unnoticed and forgotten. Then again, that’s what some people want — to go unnoticed. They don’t feel worthy or comfortable being in God’s house. I totally understand the feeling of not wanting to be the center of attention, but the church needs to embrace these people to show them that they are accepted and forgiven. They have a new chance at life and this is their new family. It can make a major difference in someone’s walk with God.
SMALLER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER.
Now, that I’ve covered why a smaller, more intimate church is beneficial, I will say that it can sometimes be a curse and not a blessing if the church’s heart isn’t in the right place. If a small church is not focused on reaching out to the community to spread God’s love and His word, then it becomes like a small private club. I have seen this too. You walk in as the new person and you instantly feel like everyone is glaring at you for barging in on their party.
This is not how church should be. This is also a MAJOR reason why so many people avoid churches whether they are big or small. Somehow, many churches have gotten to be a place that people believe is only open to “good Christians” and not to those struggling with sin. Anyone who doesn’t fit their cookie cutter standards are looked down upon. Is that how we are supposed to be? Is that how Christ walked?
No. It isn’t.
So, I call for churches and church goers to be more focused on a personal relationship with God and also outreach to share God’s love with the lost and broken. This will cause the heart of the church to spring to life and be overwhelmed with God’s presence. Then, you will see great things happen and never look back.