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Small Churches Can Thrive

June 22nd, 2009
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I think Ed Stetzer is spot-on correct, and he makes his case in a vivid manner. You can read the whole thing here. Here is a snippet from his blog post.

As a speaker at a number of conferences each year, I continue to see pastors and leaders going from one workshop to another searching for “THE” answer. They show up and hear amazing stories about implausibly happy people who willingly follow a new vision for their lives and their church. They have heard all the strategies and promises, but for many small-church leaders, the conferences, led by rock star celebrity pastors, are like “ministry pornography”– an unrealistic depiction of an experience they’ll never have that distracts them from the real and wonderful thing. In other words, the lust of the megachurch distracts them from the mission of their church. (I’m not anti-big church–I preach at a megachurch every week– but I am also pro-small church.) The reality is that smaller churches can thrive, too. More than 65 percent of the churches that participated in the research survey for Comeback Churches (B&H)–the book I co-wrote with Mike Dodson– had under 200 regular attendees. Smaller churches are not always unhealthy churches; it depends largely on their mindset. In our research, we found that the small churches which experienced revitalization often did so around prayer and outreach.

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Categories: Congregational Life
  1. June 23rd, 2009 at 11:41 | #1

    Paul, I’m surprised that you would offer such an unqualified thumbs-up to this article by Ed Stetzer. Ed Stetzer needs correction, not approval. It’s the only loving and God-pleasing thing to do when someone has been ensnared by false doctrine.

  2. Rev. Daniel T. Torkelson
    June 24th, 2009 at 10:33 | #2

    I don’t know the Ed Stetzer article, but I do know the truth of small congregations being able to thrive. I am humbled to say I have been called to serve two small congregations in my time as a pastor and I am especially proud of my current congregation and it’s will and desire to thrive. The real tragedy of this story is how anti-small congregation the culture of American Christianity is today. If I had a dollar for every time a brother pastor encouraged me to serve a large parish, I think lunch for all your regular readers would be on me.

  3. June 24th, 2009 at 13:50 | #3

    I think you’re right here Paul. Stetzer’s comments about small doing great stuff is good to hear. I think God is doing some amazing things in the small community relationships. Maybe it’s because we’re somehow in conversation over life in Christ when we’re in smaller faith communities. Maybe…

    Thanks for your post.


  4. July 2nd, 2009 at 08:23 | #4

    I just started to attend a small LCMS parish in rural Pennsylvania. It is the most vibrant small church I’ve ever been to. It only has about 50 people, but they church feels very intimate and they are active in the community. :-)

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