What I Miss about a Small Church   2 comments

For most of my adult life, I have been a member of small churches.  During the last five years, we ended up making an unprecedented shift to both a different denomination than the one we’d been part of for twenty-five years, and to a church much larger than any we had attended before.  It didn’t start out large as it was a church plant, but it rapidly grew to several hundred and went on up from there.  It’s now at about 700.  To me that is huge.

I didn’t expect to be a member of a church that big, of course.  Starting from a small group one doesn’t know what to expect.  It just kind of took off.

Now that I’ve experienced both, there are some differences I’ve noted.

In a small church, there are always financial challenges, of course.  If the pastor says he will eat beans if he has to, you know two things.  One he’s an amazing man, but two, you have a financial problem.

If there are personality conflicts that cause big problems, they are front and center in a small church.

It is hard to find people to fill all the roles that need to be filled.  There are only so many adults who can be elected deacon or elder.

One of the main difficulties with a small church body is it can be quite problematic to get the needed momentum to pass the boundary of awkward into do-able.  People who want to just blend in are not going to be comfortable attending a church where they stand out.  Many people who are looking for a church may have expectations about size, programming, dynamics and so forth.

The good point of a large church are that there are lots of people.

There are people to volunteer in the nursery, there are people coming in who are interested in serving, although, honestly, in big churches as well there can be problems with motivating people to serve.  Big churches can have financial problems, too, but I think it is less likely, barring some disaster in leadership, which thankfully I have not experienced.

Big churches are more likely to have vibrant children’s and youth programs, as those can more easily be funded and fueled, and there are more kids there to keep the momentum going.

But I’ll tell you what I miss.

I miss being in a body small enough that I know everyone.  That takes a small body, as in 50-100 strong.

In that setting, there are few enough people that over enough fellowship dinners, service days, and nursery work, you get to know people well.  It creates an intimacy that is often missing in the general culture.

A small church united in a common cause is a force to be reckoned with.  When someone has a problem, it is noted, and people draw in around the sufferer to help.

Over time, devotion of that sort creates a very strong bond.  Family would not be too strong of a word.

That’s what I miss.

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Posted July 21, 2016 by swanatbagend in the church

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2 responses to “What I Miss about a Small Church

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  1. I see your point, but at St. Andrew, a VERY large church, we did have friends who were family. We were very lucky.

  2. I know exactly what you mean. The Temple I grew up with also grew up. I don’t mind visiting, but I don’t really want to be there. (I was also an outsider, even as a kid. Now I would be doubly so.)

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