Posted On: October 10, 2014 • Author: Pastor David Bousquet • Category: Articles
In my ministry I have been questioned about whether large churches are better or worse than small churches. This is a rather difficult question to answer for several reasons. There are plenty of small and large churches that are not worth attending, because they are not preaching the truth; likewise there are both small and large churches that are truly preaching the Word of God. Romans 15:19 gives a wonderful criteria for the worth of a church. In this verse, Paul stated that he had fully preached the Gospel of Christ throughout Asia. This phrase “fully preached” essentially has two meanings. First, that he had preached the Gospel everywhere. Second, that he had preached the full Gospel. It was not a feel good message, but a message of sin, punishment, death, sacrifice, forgiveness, and repentance. The first criteria in judging any church is whether they preach the full gospel.
As to which is better both have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of a sound large church is the financial resources at the churches disposal. They are able to finance some amazing works. In addition, they also tend to have a great supply of physical resources such as counselors, teachers, contractors, and other workers. A final major advantage is that they have a very professional appearance. They look and sound good, because they have the resources to put together an excellent product.
The disadvantages of the larger churches is that there is very little unity or cohesiveness within the church. Often, the congregation is made up of strangers who happen to attend together. A second disadvantage is found within the first, it lacks a close family feel. A second disadvantage is that those that minister tend to be professionals instead of laymen. This may seem small, but this kind of churches advertises for a song leader, youth leader, or secretary. The end result is that the average attender not has no service, but has no area where they can serve. A final disadvantage is found in the temptation to not speak the truth. This is the one that sets mega churches apart from large churches. When the focus becomes on growing large instead of producing spiritual maturity, the church will face the temptation to either corrupt the Word of God or ignore massive elements of the Word in order to not spark controversy within the church.
The advantages of a small church are found several areas. First, there is typically no fear to preach the truth within these churches. They know that their greatest attraction is their depth in teaching the Word of God. Second, they have numerous opportunities for individual to serve. The pastor can’t do it all, and the budget does not allow for multiple salaried staff, so the congregation ends up needing to volunteer within their gifts so that the work is done. Third, this small church tends to maintain a tight family feel and thus have a more unified group. This unity and family feel results in individuals willingly come to aid others within the church in emergencies or crises.
The disadvantages of the small church are very evident as well. They tend to give an amateur presentation, because the majority of those serving are not professionals. These churches tend to have individuals who serve out of love instead of out of money. The next disadvantage is that of fewer resources. Each individual is necessary for these ministries to accomplish their work, and each dollar is stretched for maximum use. There are no extras, and so they are often unable to have as large or as polished activities due to the limited resources.
Though there are many more advantages and disadvantages of each church, in my opinion the smaller church is more effective at instilling spiritual maturity, for all of the above advantages, and for one additional one. In a smaller the church, the pastor is more accessible, thus he is more likely to invest himself in personal instruction and discipleship. Combined with the other advantages this should help to create a church that is serving, loving, and growing as a body for Christ.