The inverse of yesterday’s post is probably more interesting. You have heard that one also, I suspect. “Our church is small because our message is pure. Not many people can handle the kind of faithfulness we represent.” In other words, our church is small because we are better.
I call this the “sour grapes” school of church growth. It excuses our limited connections with the people by asserting a spiritual superiority. Everyone else wants to compromise, that’s why they go to the other churches. Especially that big church. You can tell how compromised they are by how large they are.
Never mind that the logic of this would keep us all at home by ourselves. After all, if the smaller the church the better, then just me by myself should be the best. Right? Just you and me and I’m not so sure about you.
Let’s be honest: some churches are small because they are bad at connecting with people. Maybe it is true that some large churches are too open with the ideas and lifestyles they accept. But it is certainly true that some small churches are too closed about what ideas and lifestyles they accept.
It is not only unproductive to try to discern God’s favor by the size of the church, it is wrong. It is foolish to suggest that church size is any measure of success. We say that we believe God looks on the heart and does His own thing with His church, but we still try to judge according to the world’s standards.
I suggest that we begin to understand that some people need small churches and some need large churches—and God provides churches of all sizes. We can go even further and say that some people need one size church at one point in their lives and a different size church at another point. My wife and I fellowship with a church of 40. Our last church home numbered over 3000. Different points in our lives.
Let’s get away from this idea that church size is a way to judge things like faithfulness. Let’s let the Lord be the Judge. I think there are good churches and bad churches and I think that things like doctrine and relationships matter, but church size doesn’t matter at all.