Ninety percent of the churches on earth are under 200 people. Eighty percent are under 100. There may be no segment of the church that is more normative. But they may also be the most misunderstood.
Here are six truths about small churches that I wish every church leader knew and took into account:
1. There Are a Lot of Us
Of the approximately two billion people who attend churches, half of them attend churches of 250 or fewer. Yes, one billion believers voluntarily attend small churches!
2. We're Not Broken, We're Normal
Church growth is great. In fact, it is an essential element of fulfilling the Great Commission. But not every church that is participating in the growth of the church experiences corresponding numerical growth in their congregation.
Yet we’re often made to feel that if we’re not growing numerically, something must be wrong, as if ninety percent of the world’s churches are broken.
Small does not automatically mean broken.
3. We Have Different Needs than Big Churches
Most pastoral instruction comes from a big church perspective and carries underlying big church assumptions.
Small churches operate differently than big churches. It’s not just a matter of scale.
But small churches operate differently than big churches. It’s not just a matter of scale. You can’t see what’s working in a church of 5,000, drop two zeros, then do it in a church of 50.
Small churches are as different from big churches as roses are from redwoods. What they have in common is that healthy ones grow, but roses and redwoods grow to different sizes and serve different purposes.
4. We Offer Different Benefits than Big Churches
A healthy big church is great. And it can do many things that small churches can’t do.
But a healthy small church is also great. And it can do many things that big churches can’t do.
The body of Christ needs both.
5. Small Churches are Driving the Growth of the Global Church
One of the great advantages of small churches is that we can multiply much faster than big churches.
In regions where the body of Christ is growing as a percentage of the population, it is typically through the multiplication of small churches, more than from the growing of larger churches.
6. We Love Our Big Church Brothers and Sisters
The apostle Paul told us that, within the body of Christ, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don't need you!’” And he pled with us, “that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (1 Cor 12:21,25)
Big churches matter. Small churches matter. When we work together, Jesus can do amazing things through us.