Whenever someone would make a joke another person’s “size.” To keep it PG, I’m not talking about their height. Darryl would always concsole them with a reply like “don’t worry, small is the new big.” I think we all can learn, especially pastors, from this gem of advice.
Instead of all kinds of pastors from medium to small sized churches looking to their idols like Willow Creek and Saddle back and churches that are alike what if they started to look at churches that were involved in their communities in the town over. I was thinking today about how influential a massive 20, 000 person church is and exactly what kind of influence they have on all these wannabe churches. These massive mega-churches run conferences for all the wannabe churches and what does it do? Well it tells all these wannabe churches that they are missing out on something valuable that you can find in the seats of their sanctuaries. It tells you that these medium sized churches need what these big churches have in order to do things properly.
So all the medium sized church pastors go to these conferences and get inspired. They get inspired to do all these new innovative and creative ideas. They worked for the massive church so they should be able to work for the medium church. These pastors go home and start implementing these ideas. 40 days of purpose, 40 days of community, seeker sensitive initiatives, Alpha programs, kids ministry approaches, evangelism approaches, media approaches and all sorts of other great ideas. These pastors add another program to the list thinking that just maybe this will be the thing that catches and makes them bigger.
These medium sized churches try idea after idea and slowly thin themselves out over all the ideas that are spread throughout the churches. A few people run them all while the rest take them all in. These medium sized churches become nothing more than wannabe, burnt-out, drained and empty churches with nothing left to give because everything they’ve produced they’ve consumed themselves.
What if these medium sized church pastors started meeting with smaller congregational pastors of churches that are making impacts in small sections of their cities. What if a few pastors from a church of 500-600 in suburbia somewhere went and spent the day with the pastors of FRWY or NEXT. What if these pastors heard the stories that I heard? Well I know it would change their church. They would realize how far they have come from being a church that is changing their community around them. They would realize that their busyness and long list of programs isn’t anything to be proud of except numbers on a piece of paper. They would realize that simply staying true to the original commission is what its all about and it doesn’t need business-like institutions with volunteer committees to organize love.
Why do we look at buildings that fit more people as if they are more successful than a church of 100 changing the lives of people that live around them? We study Jesus who travelled with a church of twelve others, yet we study churches of twenty-thousand like they are the epitome of the proper way to do things. I’m not saying boycott these big churches, but I am saying that we are missing out on all the amazing things that God has to teach us in the small ones, the ones we never hear about. The ones that do their work in secret and don’t make it into a curriculum and then run a conference on it. Hunt out the churches that are small but doing crazy things in your community and ask them what makes their heart tick and ask them why they wake up in the morning and ask them to tell you some stories and then take your church leadership team to meet them and do it all over again and I promise you that slowly your leadership team will start to remember why they are there and what their churches purpose is and will get rid of all the things that are simply wannabes. God is in the small stuff just as much of as the big stuff, and we are missing out by pretending God exists only where the masses go.