Supersizing the Church

The hard truth: God cares more about the holiness of a congregation than He does the size of the congregation. Using numerical benchmarks to somehow size up the blessing God pours out on a congregation or to evaluate members’ ability to stay faithful to the guidelines of Scripture lacks spiritual maturity and reveals our reliance on human understanding in our vain attempts to build the kingdom of God through our own methods. -Thomas White & John M. Yeats, Franchising McChurch, p. 63

Why has the church bought into the lie that only big churches can win in the battle against our culture? What victory is it if we accomplish an incredible feat with massive budgets, slick advertising, targeted marketing, and the newest programming? Do we miss out on the greatest experience of God working through the “least of these” to impact all of eternity when we spend our effort more on marketing tactics than prayer? In fact, some of the great movements of God in history have come from small churches that decided to get right with God. As He moved in their midst, their small clay pots, torches, and trumpets become the sharp swords God used to bring salvation to hundreds if not thousands. – White & Yeats, McChurch, p. 68

The church is not a business; its pastors and leaders are not CEOs. The gospel is not a commodity that can be bought and sold, no matter how you want to package, market, or sell it. The church is not designed to be a purveyor of good feelings or emotional experiences like some kind of amusement park or vending machine. We can stall all of this, but the reality is that many churches evaluate themselves by asking the same type of questions mentioned above. Do the people have buy in? Are our ministries cutting edge? Do we utilize the best technology? Are we growing numerically? At the end of time, your congregation will stand before God. He will evaluate your ministries according to the hallmarks of success He put into place for the church, not human inventions. In fact, God’s investment strategy is often exactly opposite to the measurements of the world. -White & Yeats, McChurch, p. 70

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed reading what HB wrote on this subject and I have sensed where his heart is over time and I believe that the reality of the subject where OJ wrote HB would agree. But OJ you left out a few facts he made about people putting their faith into human ideas of whats right and whats wrong. When was the last time you heard of a BIG CHURCH doing a food drive or as HB did Make A Difference Day, just a day to go out and do random acts of kindness throughout the city. You hear of small churches doing it all the time. Have you ever heard of a large church doing a Bake Sale? I was raised in a small church and my extended family still attend there and they have bake sales and garage sales monthly and do you know what they do with the money?; they give it away, back to the community, the food banks etc, what do the Mega churches do? Sure they may write a check to give to a couple of organizations from the tithes, but do they have specific drive’s to support such outreaches, does the congregation get involved personally? You know there is good pride and there is bad pride, and I believe good pride is a feeling that God gives you in the reward of that tear that come’s from your eye when you have truly tried to do God’s work. Not everyone is fortunate to have thing’s work out as they plan and people stumble and fail in so many way’s and I believe it’s the churches job to help people through certain situations and show them who God is through Jesus Christ who is the True Giver. I believe that when HB wrote this particular blog he was pointing out the bad pride that we develop from being such large MEGA Churches that we lose site and it is true. Okay most mega churches started from somewhere and a lot of them were started from individuals living rooms, but after they grow so large the drive then turns into a constant how are we gonna be able to fund that new building and get more people, or we can get more people if we had a bigger building. Okay have I rambled to much? Plain and simple HB was trying to make a point of the reality of what we have come to accept as our definition of whats right which is basically a distorted view of the world, I could go on and on and on about this and the real truth of the matter is our definitions of right are only right if it is based on the teachings of Christ and not taken out of context.

    Bruce

  • Pastor OJ

    I respectfully disagree with the assertions made by the author. We (the church) have been so raggedy in our presentation and operations for decades. We have allowed the world to outshine us in every aspect which curtailed rising memberships and attraction. The churches now are setting the standard and trend in modernization of the building, worship styles, ministries, etc. I agree that success cannot be measured solely by figures and attendance, HOWEVER, they are very good indicators along with other factors of the health and viability of a church. We cannot continue to just have prayer meetings and not do anything to support our community, educate our children, and invest into the lives of our parishioners. If our churches are as strong ministry wise than we are church wise that will alleviate some of the prayers and stresses people go through. A mother praying for her kid to come home out of the streets, won’t have to pray this prayer if her church had their own community center supervised by mentors and preachers that are imparting into our youth. Members won’t have to pray for food or a job if the churches would get off their knees praying and DO the work of the ministry and offer food pantry and job assistance classes. I am not saying we should not pray and have church but there is another side to ministry which we as a church have neglected for so long and its past time that we assert ourselves into our neighborhoods. I agree that size is not a tell all, that small churches can do big things but when a city of 5k people got 60 some odd churches…something is wrong. We cannot remain fragmented and expect to be effective in fulfilling the commission that God called us to do. Lastly, I strongly disagree….the church IS a business….our business is people! God invests within MAN so our desires and abilities and talents THAT GOD placed within us has to be utilized. It’s amazing how some people believe that we are to cut out brains off at the door of the church before we go in! God wants us to use our expertise and abilities….HE GAVE IT TO US!

  • Anonymous

    The best assessment I have read on the topic. Thanks for the blog. cm

  • Anonymous

    Great thought. Thanks for posting.

    Quinton Chad Foster

  • Anonymous

    This is a great assesment! I am picking up this book at once. Can’t wait ’til I order your first publication!!! -Kraig

  • Anonymous

    The CHURCH is a living body that when nurtured in God’s word and it is God centered it will grow. I think of how Jesus started with 12 disciples. Today, just look at the number of true disciples. It all begin and ends with the Word of God. Nothing else matters. When God is in the Head the world will know it. Who is the writer? Why was it written and who was it primarily written to? What was happening when the book was written?
    May God keep you in His care always.

  • Angelia…

    Pastor C,
    to discover that bigger isnt better and more isnt greater is a learning curve…we have been socialized to think that more money is happier, a bigger church is holier…however, the more involved in the Word we become the more we know and prayerfully, the better we do…

    Blessings!
    angelia