Preaching Articles

The pressure in church world is almost always expansive.  Bigger buildings, bigger programs, bigger numbers, etc.  This is not all bad, of course.  If you wouldn’t want another person added to the church then something has broken in your heart, and if that’s true for one more, why not fifty more?  Still, not everything about bigger is better.

We need to make sure that in our preaching ministry we are not drawn into thinking purely in a “bigger is better” model.  For instance, is it better to speak to fifty or five hundred?  It depends what you are speaking about, and even more, who the respective groups are.  Five hundred conference hoppers going from one event to the next are not worth ten times more than fifty strategic leaders who will influence thousands.

I served for a year on an ocean-going ship-based ministry, a life changing experience for me.  That ministry began back in the 1960′s with a little group of people praying around a world map in a little converted pub in Bolton, England.  Today millions around the world have visited the ships and received the gospel in some form.

As an Englishman I am very thankful for the “little” conversations that took place at the White Horse Inn in Cambridge.  Cranmer, Latimer, Barnes, Bilney, Gardiner, Coverdale, Tyndale, et al . . . men discussing Lutheran thought, “Little Germany,” . . . a group that changed the history of England and the world.

The Apostle Paul had a massive ministry and a massive impact.  But let’s not forget the amount of time he invested in a relatively small group of companions – Timothy, Titus, Silas, Luke, Epaphras, etc.  God changed the world through Paul.  Paul marked the world through these men and others.

The Lord himself seemed to value a deeper mark on fewer people.  He was second-to-none in reaching the masses (although after John 6 some might question that).  Yet how much did he do that was “small and strategic” with twelve, with three, with one?  He has truly built his church on that foundation.

So here’s the question: as a preacher, what are you doing that is small and strategic?  Not the big stuff.  Not the big crowds.  The small stuff.  The strategic.  It could be a phone call.  It could be a small group praying together.  It could be a leisurely dreaming session in a tavern.  It could be inviting some into your ministry to value a deeper mark on fewer lives in order to make a greater mark in eternity.

What are you doing that is small and strategic?

Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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Ron Hoffmann

commented on Aug 12, 2011

A very sane and encouraging word. Thank you for giving those in speaking ministry "permission" to speak to smaller crowds or even just one. We can get so caught up in the "more is better" mindset that we forget Christ focused on 12, and even more particularly on 3. Good perspective adjustment!

Saji Thomas

commented on Aug 13, 2011

This is great idea which people need to know and follow to focus the small group for maximum impact which Jesus meant.

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