Small Church v. Big Church

My friend Lee Coate posted this list of the 10 benefits of a smaller church. Now laying the subjectivity of that statement aside I decided to go through each benefit and see who really is better.

Alright, I will respond to each. Giving a point to the winner (big church v. small)

10.) You don’t need earplugs at big church. Although at a small church you can focus on Jesus without the distraction of the worship leaders face thrown at you. (1 point small church)

9.) Everyone will know your name, and gossip about everyone incessantly. Also, it is very possible to have a “community” of people who know your name at a “big church” that is equivalent to a small church. Only at a big church you get more variety and a chance to connect with people (1 point big church)

8.) At a big church pastors aren’t necessarily hired guns so that the rest of the church doesn’t have to be the church (rather they are hired guns to put on a show and compartmentalize and over simplify discipleship). At a big church you are visited by the members of the church – not a pastor living out the faith on behalf of the church. (1 point big church)

7.) This can happen anywhere at anytime no matter who you are. (-1 point to small church for being pompus)

6.) Unless the dudes a heretic, but there’s a lot of heretics in big church too. (1 point small church)

5.) Have you seen a small church parking lot, not exactly huge. But at least they don’t have dudes telling you how to park – seriously big church, every other place I go assumes I know how to park, except you, you think I’m dumb and can’t find a spot on my own (1 point small church)

4.) See #8 (1 point big church)

3.) Not always a good thing, or true. (-1 point small church for being creepy)

2.) Right, because it’s all about you. But wait, big churches make every Sunday about me, while I only get one day in small church. (no points, you both suck).

1.) Possibly, but you could also become a self-righteous jerk who thinks your way of doing church is better than everyone other church. (1 point for stronger teaching, -1 point for being a jerk about it, small church)

So there you have it. Big church is the winner. But you know who the real winner is: Satan, because he loves this stuff.



5 Responses

  1. Shouldn’t this really be called the benefit of large church gatherings versus small church gatherings?

  2. This made me laugh, great tongue in cheek writing.

    I would look at this from a parish, shepherding paradigm. I think there is something to be said about the effectiveness of the pastor not just as “equipper” as has become normative in last 30 years, but as shepherd. One who walks with his people through the valleys and victories of life, and is able to apply the word to their lives and hearts in a particular way.

    Of course I believe in the priesthood of all believers and that all of us should have others in our lives who are continually being used by the Holy Spirit to carve out of our hearts our idols and sin. This kind of shepherding takes delicacy, care and intimate relation. I am open to how bigger (whatever that means) provide this for their people, but so far I think it has been a major shortcoming in most.

  3. Let’s first address the terms “small” and “big”. What is their meaning? Do these terms refer to quantity, attitude, financial status, education, or what? And no, you cannot assume these terms are universally defined by the Christian church. “Small” to me would be churches with attitudes of impenetrability, anti-intellectualism and mediocrity. “Big” would be applied conversely.

    “Small” and “big” might be applied differently in terms of numerity. To determine a definition of size, consider the following. What might professional athletes, concert vendors, and convention planners of your city consider “small” or “big”? In my opinion, this may be a healthier point of entry in discussing size relative to even the church.

    So then, what of the value of size whether “small” or “big”? How do athletes and other professionals who prepare for the public view empty seats, an unfilled theater, or an underrepresented population? How should christians respond to the same or should they attach some positive value to “smallness” and then call it a day?

  4. Although it may sound a bit corny, I in reality like looking after my hearing and whilst I do agree with the preceding poster and I really hope I do not get shot down for saying this, but I think it is essential to take all things in moderation.

  5. Very interesting discussion… But when we talk about big vs. small (number of attenders) wasn’t every big church once small? I’m reminded of the church as discussed all through Acts and think of this as an example of a good healthy church… These scriptures talk of the church adding “to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 41-47.

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