3 Reasons Why You Should Go To A Small Church
Before you go on assuming please know that I have nothing personal against the contemporary “mega-church” movement but I do think that attending a small church will more consistently grow God’s children into spiritual maturity. I also want to say that I admire and receive quite frequently from various mega-church leaders and have no qualm with many of them theologically. I have many friends and family who happily attend larger churches and have visited a lot of them myself. I also want to add that no matter how big the church is, the passion and drive it has for God and his people in obedience will ultimately be the deciding factor in where that church goes and what it does, not necessarily its size. Now that I have all of my disclaimers beside me let me explain why I think being in a small church is a major spiritual benefit.
- Discipleship, which is our chief command in Matthew 28, is practical in a smaller church setting.
Let us never mistake one week of evangelism in a foreign country for the entirety of the Great Commission. God’s intent concerning discipleship requires intimate fellowship with one another. It requires humble confession, sacrifice of time and money, and sincerity of heart. In many mega churches today it is easy to fall through the cracks of discipleship. It is not that larger churches don’t want to disciple but that due to the sheer volume of people it is impossible to keep up. All the life group leaders in the world can’t account for every member that comes into a mega church on a regular basis.
The fact is that discipleship was never meant to be a program at the church; it is the very point that the church exists. So why group together where the intent of the Gospel cannot fully grow? My best guess is convenience. In many ways we have pooled together so that we can afford top notch equipment, a state of the art coffee house, a sports complex, and other well intended things. Those things are great to have and not sinful in themselves but these things cannot be at the expensive of our own spiritual maturity. Take Preastenwood Church in Plano, TX for example. Preastenwood Church is a 7000 seated church with a 140 acre lot. They have an arcade, a gym, a food court, a bookstore, and a Starbucks on site. This is just one of many examples. Am I the only one that thinks that this is a bit much? We have spent so much time thinking COULD WE that we have never asked God SHOULD WE?
- You will likely have a relationship with your senior pastor at a small church.
A narrative that is consistent throughout Scripture is that of the sheep and their shepherd. We often project this image upon a pastor and their church members. What I have noticed more and more with mega churches is a growing trend of a CEO mentality. Again, due to the volume of people and the number of problems they present on a daily basis it is impossible for the head pastor to have a relationship with every church member. Now, does everyone at my 150 member church have a close relationship with the head pastor? No, but I would say that he has a close relationship with many of them and is at least acquainted with everyone who comes on a regular basis. I love my pastor, not because he is a good speaker, but because he is a good man who loves God and is committed to God’s people. Because there are too few people who live life with their leadership it is impossible to fully trust and know them.
- Small churches offer more opportunity to use your gifting.
While I will add that many large churches have great ministry programs and there are many ways to get involved I would argue that these are primarily confined to smaller settings like “life groups” or other member initiated functions. Corporately, however, there are few if any ways to contribute. Things like teaching, counseling, praying, and ministering in a corporate setting are left to the full time paid ministry team. A smaller church is more likely to rely on members to help with ministry needs. One may call this a hindrance (not being able to afford more staff) but I call it a blessing. This forces ordinary men and women to help, which in turn, rolls the gears of spiritual maturity in their hearts. The goal of church is not to have it look really pretty or be really exciting. The goal is to mature spiritually. I think education and training is a great thing but you do not need a M. Div. to preach a sermon. God does not entrust the preaching of His word to those who hold tightly to a degree but to those who hold tightly to Jesus and His truth! Some of the greatest men of God never took a college class.
Just to make it clear my intention of this article was not to stir up a heated debate or to hinder the work God is doing in many large churches. My goal was to point people back to the truth that we need attachments in our church; strong attachments at that. We need people to wonder where we have been if we have been absent from church for a few Sundays. We need people to come visit us during hard times. We need people to intercede for us in our time of need and plenty. We need spiritual authority over our lives to guide us toward righteousness. We need accountability. We need encouragement. We need someone to realize our potential. These are things that can, if allowed, slip through our well meaning fingers.