There’s not an ounce of nostalgia in me for some long-lost, non-existent, good-old-days when everyone attended a little white chapel and all was right with the world.
In fact, one of the unwritten rules we follow regarding the photos for NewSmallChurch.com is No Little White Chapels Allowed. (I guess it’s not unwritten any more.)
If your church building is a little white chapel, please don’t be offended. I don’t have an issue with your building. My problem is with the almost universal preconception that valuing Small Churches means settling for a quaint, nostalgic, do-nothing attitude. And that is exemplified in a lot of people’s minds by The Little White Chapel.
Seriously, how many times have we seen an article about Small Churches with that as the go-to image? It’s even been connected to my articles when they’ve been reprinted on other websites. And I don’t blame them for it – when you type “Small Church” into your Google Images search bar, Little White Chapels come up by the hundreds. (Resist the temptation to do that right now. I know you want to.)
I won’t use The Little White Chapel on my website because…
- It’s cliché
- It’s theologically problematic (the church isn’t the building)
- But mostly because it sends the wrong message as to what NewSmallChurch.com is all about
So what are we about?
Today I’ll answer that question by telling you three things that we’re NOT about. Small Churches are not a Problem, we’re not a Virtue and we’re not an Excuse.
1. Small Churches Are Not a Problem
I won’t say too much about this right now because I’ve dealt with this idea a lot on this site, already. You can click on any of the articles here to read more.
For now, I’ll say that one of the primary missions of this website is to rid everyone, starting with my fellow Small Church pastors, of the idea that Small Churches are a problem to be fixed.
- Small Churches are not wrong, broken, sinful, or theologically incorrect
- We are not prayerless, faithless, lazy or old-fashioned
- We will not automatically grow as soon as we fix what’s wrong, because there’s nothing about being small that needs to be fixed
2. Small Churches Are Not a Virtue
Big churches aren’t better than Small Churches, but Small Churches aren’t better than big churches, either.
- Small Churches are not the best way to do church – we’re just the most common way
- We are not closer to the over-idealized New Testament church than our big church counterparts
- We are not against big churches
There’s nothing holy about smallness.
While I believe that Small Churches will play a more visible role in the future growth of the church, I don’t believe we will replace big- or megachurches. Nor should we.
It’s not about big or small. It’s about big and small.
Small Churches aren’t better than big churches. But the entire church is better with us than without us.
3. Small Churches Are Not an Excuse
Being small is not an excuse to do church poorly. While many Small Churches may not be able to afford a lot of things we’d love to have, like the latest technology, a permanent building or even a salary for the pastor, we will not allow any of that to stop us from being everything Jesus is calling us to be.
- Just because we don’t have a kickin’ worship band does not mean we’ll settle for passionless worship
- Lack of sermon prep time will not mean bad theology or boring preaching
- Minimal finances will not stop us from being generous
- Not having professionally-made graphics, flyers and banners won’t stop us from inviting our friends to church
- We will not wait until we grow to do what Jesus is calling us to do right here, right now
A local church doesn’t need to be big to do the Jesus stuff well.
And the Jesus stuff is the only stuff that matters anyway.
So what do you think? Have you viewed Small Churches as a problem, a virtue, or an excuse? Which one is your biggest challenge to overcome?
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