“How can you possibly say that a church of 100 is as valuable as a church of 10,000?”
Yes, I was actually asked that question.
My answer was this. I’m not saying that a church of 100 is as valuable as a church of 10,000. Or vice versa. I would never say that. For two reasons.
Reason #1: As I wrote in The Grasshopper Myth, comparing Small Churches to megachurches is like comparing peas to pumpkins, or roses to redwoods. Each has value, but they’re too different to compare.
A contractor building a barn may not see any value in a rose. But a husband looking for a way to tell his wife “I’m sorry for missing our anniversary – again” is unlikely to get much help from a redwood tree. There is no comparison.
Reason #2: Churches aren’t in competition with each other. At least we aren’t supposed to be. So the foundation of the question is flawed.
So, instead of comparing roses to redwoods, I’d like to propose a way to compare apples to apples without participating in the “who’s better?” game.
How about these two questions, side-by-side.
What are the benefits of 10,000 people worshiping in a megachurch led by one pastor?
What are the benefits of 10,000 people worshiping in 100 Small Churches led by 100 pastors?
It’s Not Really 10K
Actually, that’s not even a fair comparison, because in any city where there is a church of 10,000, there aren’t just 100 Small Churches with 10,000 people attending – there are probably 1,000 Small Churches with 100,000 people attending. That’s reality. Small Churches outnumber megachurches by 1,000 to 1. And Small Church members outnumber megachurch members by 10 to 1.
Nevertheless, we’ll stick with the 10K baseline for now. Apples to apples.
Some Benefits of 10,000 Believers In One Megachurch
- Greater unity of vision
- More options for family ministries
- Evangelism through big outreach events
- The fun and excitement of worshiping in a big crowd
- Multiple pastors with varying leadership skills & gifts
- Greater consistency
- More quality control
- Buildings that can host larger ministries (conferences, concerts, etc.)
- Higher community visibility
- More small group options
- Several venues and worship styles
Some Benefits of 10,000 Believers In 100 Small Churches
- My pastor knows my name
- Greater diversity
- Evangelism through multiple, concurrent, personalized events
- Intimacy of worship for people intimidated by big crowds
- High level of hands-on, pastoral care
- More opportunities for pastors of varying skill levels and gift mixes
- Closer personal relationships
- Greater accountability
- More chances to experiment
- More chances to fail
- More chances to grow
- More chances to succeed
- 100 venues and worship styles
Let’s Stop Talking About “Better” and Start Working Together
We need each other. “Who’s better?” has no place in the body of Christ.
Just as the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!”, the megachurch can’t say to the Small Church, “I don’t need you” – or vice versa.
We all have something to bring. So let’s all bring what we have.
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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