Too much is made of church size and what is perceived as successful. There is this belief in the church leadership world that only big churches are successful churches. We love to throw out the phrase “healthy things grow!” What a load! I’m 300 pounds because I am NOT healthy. At the same time too many small church pastors want to hurl accusations and dismiss big churches as “being shallow” and watering down the Gospel to attract people. Again…a load! Well…really a load based out of jealousy, but that is a subject for another blog post. Big churches, small churches and medium sized churches are all needed in the Kingdom of God. One size is no better than the other size. The SIZE of the church doesn’t determine the success of the church. The EFFECTIVENESS of the church determines the success of the church!
The SIZE of the church doesn’t determine the success of the church. The EFFECTIVENESS of the church determines the success of the church!
There are some amazing big churches out there that are effectively reaching their community for Jesus Christ. There are also a metric buttload of big churches that simply poached people from other churches in order to grow. There are a bunch of great small churches in this country that are truly serving their community and seeing people come to Christ because of it. There are also a metric buttload of small churches that have turned so far inward that nobody in their community would notice if they died. The size doesn’t matter – the effectiveness does.
So how is effectiveness measured? Well, in Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus is pretty clear about the two things that determine an effective church:
- Reaching the lost with the Word of God.
- Discipling followers of Christ.
An effective church basically shares the Gospel with a person far from God, baptizes them when they come to Christ and then walks them through the process of becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ. Some churches that effectively do this only have 20 people involved. Other churches that effectively do this have 20,000 people involved. God is just as overjoyed when one person goes through this process as He is when thousands of people go through it. The Scriptures record both the Ethiopian and the day of Pentecost. Both numbers are important in Scripture, because both numbers are about effectiveness. Pastor take heart. It doesn’t matter what size your church is. If you have seen 1 or 1,000 people come to Christ – and are now being discipled – you lead a successful church!