A friend asked me why I “waste time” writing a church planting blog. Good question, I’m supposed to be retired but travel at least 13 weeks a year teaching disciplemaking and church multiplication. On top of that I try (often not successfully) to post something new and interesting each week.
The answer is that I believe in the kingdom of God. But, the most important factor is that I believe in the pastors of smaller churches. These guys are my heroes—especially bivocational (freelance) pastors. They pay a price that leaders of larger churches do not. And (this is the good part) they are more productive in A. Evangelism. B. Disciplemaking and C. Church planting. For me, supporting churches with fewer than 500 members is not a task, it’s my life.
Smaller Churches as the Roots of the Tree
You read that right, these folks are at the root of the tree if mega-churches are the flowers at the top. It was in the early 1980s that George Barna discovered that small churches evangelize best because they are relational. They are relational because they can’t afford expensive programs. Big churches think they evangelize, but often glean the results of the smaller churches—people get saved in one place then discover another that has better children’s programs or more exciting worship… you get it.
The relational nature of smaller churches more naturally (though not always) leads to pastors making disciples rather than dumping the Great Commission on a staff member (unrighteous delegation).
Smaller Churches Reproduce more Effectively
The real kick in the pants is the efficiency-vs-effectiveness quotient when it comes to measuring church size against the Great Commission. Big churches are efficient. They touch masses of people with minimal effort. Smaller churches are more demanding of leadership—you work hard for every relationship. More than 20 percent of new churches come from churches numbering fewer than 100 in attendance. Congregations smaller than 500 people produce a whopping 60plus percent of church plants.
You read that right, more than 60 percent of churches ever planted came from a sending church numbering less than 500 people on their membership roles. This means for all the thousands of people attending megachurches, very few will ever be challenged to plant a church, even a microchurch.
My Three Goals
So, helping smaller churches A. Add members. B. Build disciplemaking continuums. C. Plant churches that will plant churches is worth living for—at least I hope you think it’s worth it because it takes a lot of my time.
Are you shocked that so much is done by the few? Did you think it was the purview of larger congregations to get the Great Commission done? Please do share your thoughts in the comments box below—if I have one regret it is that so many read this stuff while so few care to comment (yes, my friend, that was a guilt-trip).