I’m not part of a big-church (although many readers may think I am). We have about 12 full-time staff, 8 MTS apprentices, and just over 500 adults in GrowthGroups. Compared to Acts 2, we’re a small church about 10% its size. And yet, I keep hearing the suggestion that small churches (even smaller than ours) are somehow “better” or “more desirable” or even “more effective”.
Let me (humbly) debunk some small-church-is-better myths:
- Myth: “Small churches grow faster”
Really? If a church of 20 people grows to 30 people in 12 months… that’s 50% growth. Huge, right? And a church of 200 might only grow by 5%!! So the small church has grown by 50% and the “big” church has only grown by 5%… so the small church is growing faster right? Wrong. That 5% growth in the church of 200 is 10 souls. The exact same number of souls that the small church grew by. 10.
Small churches only grow faster when you compare percentages, not people. Lets be more interested in people.
- Myth: “Small churches see more conversion growth”
Really? First, it’s worth applying the same logic as above and compare people saved, rather than percent of people saved. But second, our experience has been that the bigger the group doing the evangelism, the more effective it is.
If your small church runs an event, you might get 2 or 3 people there, and they know (and feel) the pressure that everyone knows them and that they’re there checking it out. It’s the reason even small churches tell people, only come if you’re bringing a friend.
But when you’ve got 100s of people inviting and 10s of non-Christians there every week, it’s easier to blend into the background and hear the gospel, hear other people ask the questions you’ve got.
It also gives the very timid Christians a way to grow in confidence. They can come and check it out first. They get a better idea what they’re inviting their friends to. They trust the program will not destroy their friendship.
By God’s grace, the reality is (even from a percentage aspect), we’ve seen more conversion growth as we’ve grown larger.