If numbers aren’t the only way to tell if a church is healthy, what else is there? Have we really become so obsessed with numbers that many pastors don’t know what a healthy church looks like, outside of crunching the numbers? An obsession with numbers can blind us to essential truths. Not only are numbers
Size is a far less important factor in measuring church health and success than we’ve made it out to be.
Even this blog, which comes from a small church perspective, isn’t based on the premise that smaller is better. It’s about being a champion for churches that are often marginalized because of their size. Smaller isn’t better. It’s just under-represented.
Nevertheless, church size is a major identifier for this blog and, as the subject of this post, I’ll offer some examples of what I think are better questions regarding church size.
Instead of asking “what’s the best church size?” we need to ask “what’s the best church size for a given situation?”
No one will ever make a list of the best small churches in the world.
And they shouldn’t.
After all, a great urban small church looks very different from a great rural one. Same with a great Baptist and Methodist church. Or a great small church in Japan or Costa Rica.
Even if there was a way to figure that out and put it on a list, it would be a really bad idea. I can’t imagine all the arguments, ego and pettiness that such a list would provoke.
But what if there was such a list? And what if that list could somehow be an accurate one? In this make-believe scenario, could you imagine your church being on the list of the world’s greatest small churches?
If not, why not?
We’re often told that one of the reasons so many churches remain small is lack of faith. But I wonder… Could it be that the reverse is true? Might our obsession with bigger and bigger churches be rooted in a lack of faith?
Are we afraid that God might not do his part (building his church) if we simply stayed faithful to do our part (making disciples)? Is it possible that the glut of church growth books, seminars and classes in the last few decades has been our attempt to help God out?
There are a lot of healthy, outward-reaching churches that don’t see the kind of butts-in-the-seats growth they’ve been told is inevitable.
Including the great church I get to pastor.
So if all healthy things grow, how is growth happening in churches that aren’t seeing the expected increase in attendance?
Here are three ways I’ve seen: