The answer is rarely to expand and grow to become a megachurch. We have to remember:
- God wants growth, but it may not come in the form of membership attendance growth.
- God’s economy doesn’t use the same metrics that most churches do.
The Effective Small Church
Doesn’t compare, but seeks to contribute.
They don’t waste time comparing their size, ministry model or resources to other churches. Instead, they contribute to worship, their community and other like-minded churches and ministries for the sake of the Gospel.
The comparison mindset can be fueled by church members and even other ministers when they’re always asking about numbers or they themselves compare churches.
Doesn’t agonize over size, but uses its size as an advantage.
A small church is agile, and can often respond more quickly to local and global needs. (A large church’s size can sometimes be a deterrent to speedy response. Often, larger ministry models or structures can also be roadblock—it’s the difference between turning an aircraft carrier and a speed boat.) A small church should embrace their ability to serve people immediately, garner manpower efficiently, and communicate and respond to needs quickly.
Doesn’t compete, but does contextualize.
Instead of competing with other churches and ministries, they contextualize their efforts to reach the people God has called them to. It’s a niche mentality. If you compete with other churches, you’ll change your church on a whim. And that’s not healthy change. Some small churches are ineffective because they refuse to change. Other small churches are small because they changed too much, and people left. There’s a tension and a church leaders need to navigate it well.
Doesn’t compromise their calling.
Often, God clearly calls a congregation to a specific people group—and sometimes, pursuing those groups will limit attendance (i.e., you’re called to an ethnic group that only represents 2 percent growth in your community). I applaud churches who have pursued people God has called them to, even if that means forgoing ministry to larger or higher-resourced people-groups.
I love the local church, and I bet you do too. If God has placed you in leadership at a smaller church, don’t let numbers define you. Instead, embrace God’s definite plan for your church.
This article originally appeared here.