Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Why we don't want big churches

Ah, yes, I thought I'd stick my nose into this controversial topic. The statement may seem rather stupid because, after all, don't we want churches to be REALLY big? Well, of course, we want there to be lots of Christians. But this does not mean big churches, for it can also mean lots of Christians in lots of churches. Let me give some reasons why I think big churches are a bad idea.

1. They obscure mission. Large churches give a feeling of success and size and 'we are many' and therefore do not engender a thirst for mission. If you sit in a church of a thousand you feel like there are loads of Christians in London, if you sit in a church of 30 you feel like there are loads of people to be reached for the gospel. Small churches remind us constantly that 97% of our nation are not evangelical Christians. It's harder to feel that in a large church.

2. They undermine mission strategy. Large churches develop strong Christian subcultures which are difficult to penetrate, and which insulate Christians from the 'world'. They hinder communication with our culture and are more likely to be overly self-confident in their proclamation.

3. They are less evangelistically successful. The percentage number of unbelievers in a large church is much less than in a new church plant. Large churches draw Christians by attraction and transference. Small church plants can't do that and so don't. Instead they have to 'make do' with unbelievers.

What do you think?