Debunking the small-church-is-better myths (part 2)

I’m in no way against small church! Every expression of God’s people is valuable and beautiful. In fact, that’s why I’m writing these posts trying to debunk the idea that small church is not just different, but better.

  • Myth: “Only certain people can “do” big church – like extroverts. Introverts need small churches”.
    Really? There’s a few things to question about this idea…
    The normal definition of an Introvert is someone who likes lots of time with a very few number of people (if any at all). That’s not a small church… in fact that’s not even a bible study group!
    Introverts won’t like a church of 40-80 people either!! Sure, they won’t like a church of 1000, but using the introvert “card” to be with a group of 60 people doesn’t actually fly.
    I would also argue that big churches can (not always) love introverts better than small churches. When you walk in the door of a small church, even up to 80 people, everyone sees you. You’re you still have to make small talk, you still have to fumble through chit-chat. You can’t go an sit off to the side away from people, because everyone notices you. It’s hell. But in a church of 200-1000, it’s large enough that you can “go-unnoticed” in the crowd – if you want to. You can join a small group of people mid-week to encourage each other.One more point… I would assume that extroverts are the best people to put in… small churches! They are really good at bouncing up to new people, having them over for lunch (in their own house – introverts hate that!). A small church full of introverts will always struggle to invite new people in and grow.
    And as a final passing shot… should we really let a 20th century concept of “introvert/extrovert” have so great an impact on how we “do” church?!?! Methinks Satan is making a lot of ground through the selfish introspection such concepts promote.
  • Myth: “Small churches grow faster” (here)
  • Myth: “Small churches see more conversion growth” (here)

5 thoughts on “Debunking the small-church-is-better myths (part 2)

  1. Matt Baker says:

    Does the fact the fact that your big church has ‘over 500 people’ in Growth Groups–i.e. small churches (lit. ‘gatherings’)–demonstrate something of the inadequacy of a big church?

    • Matt Baker says:

      I wasn’t trying to imply anything. Maybe ‘inadequacy’ was a bit strong. Maybe if I ask it from a different angle — do you think we could do big church without small groups? And if not what does that say about big church? It seems to me that if our big churches ‘need’ smaller groups then there is something that the small group provides that a big group cannot. Maybe we don’t ‘need’ them.

      Is Acts 2–i.e. the Jerusalem church pre-persecution\dispersion–the only concrete example of a large NT church?

    • Certainly! Of course you can do bigger church without small groups. It’s still church, regardless of the numbers there. The image of the heavenly church is one big church.
      But them it’s becomes a question of why wouldn’t you do small groups? Big church doesn’t need small groups, but small groups are still good and helpful.
      In fact there’s really two types of small groups:
      a) small groups that are part of a larger local church. They NEED the church. They don’t try and be everything to to people in the group, just a help within that church.
      b) small groups who are really a church in and of themselves. They have leadership and responsibility for every aspect if their members. These groups should be trying to grow for the sake of the kingdom – right? Grow until they its impracticality to be on one group? Them split? Are the one church or two then?
      You know what we keep seeing…? People who say they’re not part of a church – because they’re already in some house-church thing, and yet they keep coming along and seeking pastoral support and help as though we were their church.
      Small groups need a big church to belong to, and big churches are wise to use small groups to help people belong.

    • But seriously, what makes you think that having small groups is a sign that a larger group is “inadequate”? Acts 2 suggests both “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (v46)
      I’m not sure I understand what you’re implying?

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