There are probably several that come to mind immediately, right? There are plenty of well-known authors, speakers and academics, some of whom are pastors themselves.
Now name an expert on Small Churches…
If you can think of one, it was probably your personal ministry mentor. If so, thank God you have one. Most don’t.
I expect most pastors can’t name anyone. There certainly aren’t any that are commonly known.
Why? Here’s what I’ve come to believe.
There Aren’t Any Small Church Experts
There are plenty of Small Church pastors. But many of us don’t even feel like we’re experts about our own congregations.
There are also people who have studied and written about Small Churches. I’m one of them. But there are very few of us. (By the way, if you named me as an expert, thank you, but I have way more questions than answers. Keep looking.)
80% of the churches in the world are small. Hundreds of millions of people attend them. Yet Small Churches are one of the least studied and most misunderstood aspects of everyday human life and behavior. There is more curiosity, study, conversation and expertise about virtually any other area of life than there is about Small Churches.
Even basic questions like “how many Small Churches are there in the world? in our country?” or simply “What even constitutes a Small Church?” have nothing but more questions following them.
We know a lot about megachurches and the megachurch movement. The books and studies on that subject literally fill libraries.
Why are there no Small Church experts?
Here are a handful of reasons I’ve considered. Feel free to add your own. Or to disagree with these.
There Are No Small Church Experts Because…
- Those who are doing it, don’t have much time to teach about it.
- Many consider a Small Church to be a failed big church. Who wants to be an expert on that?
- Studies of megachurches are usually about systems and leaders. A study of Small Churches would have to include a focus on the people who attend. Studying people is harder than studying systems and procedures.
- Studies need data. Small Churches are so diverse and widespread that data would be hard, if not impossible to find, collate and assess.
What do you think? Do you know of anyone you’d consider to be a Small Church expert?
If not, why not?
And, maybe most importantly, does it matter?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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