Apr 02

Are You Ever Jealous Of “That Big Church”?

Tim Stevens, Executive Pastor at Granger Community Church posted this article on his blog.  As someone who has served in three different sized churches, I find what Tim writes to be true of all churches.  Our culture often uses numbers as a metric of success, and that has seeped into the Church.  To be big suggests one has “arrived”.  They are on “top”.  “If we just have what they have, we could do what they do too”.  I would admit that I have been guilty of thinking these thoughts.  I have looked at churches larger than where I am with awe and wonder.  However I have learned that ultimately bigger is not better.  Healthier is better.

I choose health.

Here is an excerpt of what Tim wrote:

Here is what I know about that big church that seems to have it all together:

  • People leave their church too. And they are just as loud and cruel when they leave.
  • Sometimes their leaders cry themselves to sleep.
  • Just like you, they have gone through the pain of firing a friend from the staff or telling a volunteer they can no longer serve. In fact, due to their size, they face this a lot.
  • There are days when the pastors at that church feel very lonely.
  • Every week they get letters from people telling them the stuff they are doing wrong.
  • They sometimes have services when everything falls apart technically.
  • There are times when the pastor is done teaching and he isn’t sure anyone connected with his message.
  • Their leadership team has had very passionate and animated conversations about their vision, style, music and methods.
  • They sometimes go for weeks, even months, without receiving enough offerings to cover the budgeted expenses.
  • http://www.fcch.org Dorian Botsis

    Recently Willow had a webcast on The Most Effective Churches in America. It was very well done as it connected findings from Reveal with studies done of other churches. The metrics they used were not number based (attendance, offering, ministries etc), but rather they used a metric called Spiritual Vitality Index (SVI).

    The SVI looks at faith in action (witnessing, service etc) alongside the practice of spiritual disciplines in church members when away from church services and the ability of the church to connect with those two components.

    By far the number one criteria of effective churches was their ability to make disciples, not draw crowds.

    Check out the webcast here: http://www.willowcreek.com/web_events/effective_churches.asp

    Awesome blog Todd

  • Lisa Smith

    Thanks Todd I really enjoy your posts. They make me think more deeply about the topics you raise and they challenge my thinking … I get to work with a variety of churches and each seems very unique as they each seem to have their own particular calling… whether they are large or small, a house church or a mega church…an ethnic church or a Catholic church…

    I love what Dorian says ….it’s not about numbers at all…more about faithfulness

    Great questions for a church to ask might be are we making disciples, are we mobilizing and empowering disciples to go into the community and make a kingdom impact, are we being faithful to the calling the Lord has given us as a church, if our church disappeared tomorrow would the community and people around us notice?

    I cant speak to being a pastor because I am not one. I think leadership can be very lonely… Being a missionary in New England is often very lonely…Can I stay dependent on the Lord through difficult times, and am I being faithful in what the Lord is calling me to do?

    And just in case you don’t hear this enough… we love you and appreciate all you do to love people towards Jesus :0)