A Small Church is not a Broken Church is an examination of some of the factors good and bad of small churches versus megachurches.
A Small Church is not a Broken Church
In the minds of many Christians and especially pastors, a small church is an anomaly. “If their view of Scripture is correct, there is no reason why God would not bless any and every church to grow to a large size. Once you “outgrow” your own area, get buses and bus the people an hour or so into and back home every Sunday.” They see no problem with this.
The first problem with this mindset is simply that it begs the question whether it is God’s will that every church should exceed 2000 or 3000 members. Yes it is easier to do on the south side of the mega city of Chicago, but how about someplace out west where within a 2 or 3 hour drive there are not that many people? How about in Utah where most of the population is Mormon and unresponsive to the gospel? Large does not fit every size nor does it fit every situation.
God’s will is different between different places and people, cultures. The idea of a mega church goes hand in hand with the idea of a egotist at the head of such churches. Maybe there are large churches that have a very humble pastor, but I don’t see that as the norm. Pastors want big churches because that feeds their ego and their plans as far building and personal income. These mega churches are not paying their pastors minimum wage. Their salaries are proportional to the mega-church’s gross income. I admit that I have met pastors of smaller churches that suffer from egotism.
Humility, dedication and sacrifice can all be feigned (pretended in some form but without a true essence of these things). If you compare these things in a small church and a mega church, let’s see these mega church pastors forego their salary for a few years and work a secular job on the side to make ends meet. They “don’t have to do that because God has blessed them.” So the indirect insinuation is that somehow a pastor of a small church doesn’t have faith, nor does he have access to the same blessings from God as a mega church pastor.
Haughtiness is sinful
Yep. That is it in a nutshell.
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
First, we need to understand that we labor for the Lord, but it is not our actions and expenditures of effort, much less our genius in making plans and methods that achieve something for the Lord, but rather it is God giving us fruit for our labors as God wants to give. In one case, he may give to someone which labors little but steadily, and to another that labors intensively he may give very little. Not always is this his judgment on that person and his actions. It is entirely up to what the Lord wants to do, nothing else.
That is why prayer is so important. It is not the activities or the persuasiveness of our actions and speech, but it is the Lord’s will that blesses one church and does not bless so much another church. This is a reflection on the spiritual life of the pastor, but also on the spirituality of the church, as well as other factors that we may not know which may be hindering things.
Second, there is no reason to boast or be proud at the results of your labors if God gives you fruit or not, so it is not US that gets the glory, but the Lord. This is in the case of much fruit, i.e. many people, some fruit, or little fruit. It is all of the Lord. That should not open up the idea that we can be lazy or work without pressing towards the Bible example and commands as heartily as we can. But in the end analysis, your labor is blessed by God AS HE SEES FIT. So there are no real rules here, i.e secrets of success, except what pleases God. Hopefully our ministries please God. But this is far from being secrets for success. They are just biblical teachings of God’s principles which are clearly revealed in the Bible. Maybe some are not even in the Bible, but nobody can claim they have a secret method or procedure for spirituality or ministerial success without pinning that back to the Bible. If it is important, then God taught it in the Scripture.
But it is conceivable that you may be doing everything right, and still not see a great number of people in your church. It is also conceivable that you may see a lot of people (thinking this is God’s blessing) and be totally displeasing to God. I have always said, if we want pure numbers then we should convert Catholicism, and see the 100s of thousands when the pope comes to town. Or be Muslim as they are the greatest number in terms of a religious group.
So numbers don’t mean what a lot of people presume that they mean. It is not necessarily a sure sign of God’s pleasure or blessing on what you do.
Third, the arrogance and haughtiness of some mega church preachers is just totally satanic. Neither these preachers nor their ministries have anything to do with the blessing of God. The very fact that they don’t comprehend the variety of ministries and churches within the kingdom of God is testimony that they are not God’s servants.
Fourth, we stand or fall before our Lord, not because we adhere to the standards and popular understanding of what success is. After you have spent decades in the ministry, visited hundreds of churches as missionaries do, you wonder sometimes if the majority of the members of these churches are even saved. To take a few people and truly minister to them and see them grow into giants for the Lord is a blessing, even if it is in the context of a small church.
Fifth, the mega churches do not minister individually to the majority of their people. They cannot. Compare a small church pastor of a church of 50 people who is the only technical “minister” (others may teach and preach out of the brethren) and a mega church with 15 pastors and assistant pastors ministering to 5000 member church. Don’t think that each of those pastors can really get to know and help each of those members. That is 5000/15 or each minister ministers to 333 members. That is a far fetch.
IF, and I say that with much doubt, IF each of those ministers were expert pastors (if they were they would each have their own church) were to visit regularly with each household of those 333 members, 80+ families, what would they actually do? Would they discern those people’s spiritual needs and preach sermons and give classes that would meet their spiritual needs? No. That would be impossible. What we have is the plague of preachers with their pants too big for them. They THINK they are great men of God but are not. In these mega churches, they have show-boaters which are a few that do all the preaching, and each of those 15 assistant pastors are not preaching, and they are not preaching to the needs of those assigned to them. The main pastor rarely even listens to anything an assistant has to say as far as what they see as spiritual needs.
Let me insert here that between 50 to 100 members is around the optimum number. More than 100 becomes difficult for one pastor to handle, and he will need at least one assistant pastor and several men of the church to help him. Less than 50 has the problem of not enough to pay the bills.
But if these megachurches would divide that church of 5,000 into 50 churches of 100, with 50 pastors, then each one could visit and sense the spiritual needs of their people and preach and teach to those needs. What about one on one counseling? But we have pastors that do not listen to people’s lives and their problems but want others to praise them and their ministries, and that is the focus, on the greatness of their preacher.
Sixth, it is untrue that people who come for give-aways will hear the gospel and the Word of God and grow just as anybody else does. That is a false premise. People come to church for a reason. If they come to worship God, then that is probably what they will do. If they come to get material things, they will ignore or reject the spiritual things. Jesus knew this, and let these people come of their own free will, but Jesus ministered to those who were spiritually receptive of his message. He rebuked the others because of their carnal nature. The Jewish leaders of his day would have gladly endorsed him and pushed him before the people if he would have only acknowledged their spirituality over the people and his own self. If only he would have accepted their ways and customs. But Jesus preached the Bible and rejected popularity and the endorsement of the established Jewish religion.
As the leader of a church, we should pitch our church as preaching the Word of God, so come to listen, to worship, to obey. Those spiritual blessings are what we should pitch, and with it, people need to sacrifice to God’s work around the world.
A Small Church is not a Broken Church
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- Great Churches
- Top Issues Church Planters Face #1
- Things that ruin a Church: Dominating, Controlling, Manipulating Dictator-Pastor
- Things that ruin a Church: People
- Things that ruin a Church: Events that Decay pt 2