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Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by bb_baptist, Jun 5, 2001.
What do you consider the ideal size church?
In the today's world, bigger is equated with better - bigger car, house, TV, etc.
Is a Big Church also better?
It's interesting you posted this, I was thinking about something along the same lines the other day.
I am currently in a church that has a regular attendance of probably 200 or so for worship service... i think from some on this board that is a big church and to some it is a small. While at school I attended a church with regular attendance of 70 or so and even one that had probably not more than 30. I've also been at the opposite end of the spectrum, my membership (until recently) was at a church that was 4500 at the time i joined as is now at 5000+.
I get the feeling from people at small churches that they think the big churches are just theatrics and showing off etc and that you don't know anyone there. Conversely, i get the feeling from a big church that the people at small churches aren't as mature as they are. This is not to say that everyone at either church believes this way, just an impression I've received.
Its funny, because there are differences between them, but I don't think that big churches are just shows, nor are small churches any less mature.
My preference is bigger churches. If i could be in a bigger church that was doing the will of God, I probably would (no offense to the people at my home church). Its my experience that there are defintely more places to serve in larger churches.
In regards to not being known in big churches, I knew several (30 or so) people my age, and was able to draw close to them through Sunday School and ministry with them. In fact thats where my wife and I met.
I don't think there is a "better" church. It is largely dependant on your needs/feelings, and both large and small can be in the will of God which is most important.
I think it depends on the individual. I've been a member of a church with 3,500 members and fifteen members! As another thread covered, I think churches shouldhowever start daughter churches, and personally I feel that the ratio per member to Pastor should be 100:1, i.e. 200 members;two pastors, anyone else have an opinion without starting a new thread?
I recently read a book called "The Purpose Driven Church"; good book, although I don't agree with up to 50% of what the author says. The author is currently pastor of a church that states it has approximately 10,000 attendees.
The statement that got me, however, was where the author was talking about who people care about when they come into a church. He likened it to flying on an airline; the stewardess, or the person who gives/takes your ticket are the only people you care about. The president of the airline? Nah, you don't care about him, because you know you'll never meet him.
The irony of this statement, in my mind, is that the author, the pastor of this church that claims attendance of 10,000 people, was talking about himself when he described how no one cares about the airline president because the airline is so huge, they know they'll never meet him. In a church of 10,000, what are the odds that you or I would ever get to know the pastor without first "working our way up the ladder"?
I'm not against large churches, per se; but I believe that if a pastor has to answer to God for his flock and how he led them, then he ought to at least know them....
Personally, I like large churches,because I have been a member of two large churches in fourteen years of being saved. The first church had about 1200 members, I really enjoyed this church because I knew most all of the members. The church that I am a member of now has 5,000 members and is very large, there are people that I still do not know but I enjoy it here. I have nothing against smaller churches, but I have never been a member of one!
I have been a member of churches which have an average attendance of 175, up to 225, up to 275, up to 300, up to 375, and up to 500.
I cannot imagine being a part of a church smaller than 175, mainly because of what I saw in a church this size. Many seem to be afraid of growing--or losing their space. I prefer larger than this churches.
In post-exilic Judaism, a synagogue (the proto-type of the NT church) could not be formed in a community without a minyan (10 tithing families).
Once it reached 20+ families, it was customary for it to voluntarily split into two congregations. 100-120 people were too many for everyone to speak, share, read, discuss, debate.
And remember, they didn't "attend synagogue" like we attend church. Those who could met each day for discussion and prayer. Their rabbi was only "part time" and he worked in the town or village with them.
And they didn't have services all day on shabbat like we do on Sundays. This was a time for FAMILY worship Friday Evening and perhaps discussion/debates on Saturday morning at the synogogue, but certainly not required. It was a day of rest, not insane bustle and activity -- like most of our churches have changed to in the past 130 years.
I had this discussion with my daughter last night. She is twenty two, but still lives at home. She attends what could almost be described as a mega-church that has grown in the last 20 years from approximately 200 giving units to over 6,000.
My wife and I also attend a large church, with membership over 2,000. We live in Atlanta's far northeast suburbs, and there are very few small churches that don't have serious flaws or problems. The area has grown so much and so fast that even quirky and just moderately successful ministries have ended up big.
I have also attended a fairly small church in PA with membership of about 200 and 50 or so in Sunday services. So I have run the gamit, so to speak.
It is very easy to be a passive participant in large churches. There is always somebody to teach the difficult sunday school class (junior hi boys ). There is always enough talent to find good soloists. There is enough money for sheet music and "production value" for special events. The facilities can be incredible.
The show is very good. The praise is ok. Worship on the other hand, can be passive. And to me, passive worship, isn't.....worship, that is.
I think that many of you understand what I am saying. How does the HS move when you have three worship services crammed into 3.5 to 4 hours.
Small churches can be tough for other reasons. The bathrooms are backed up again. The grass needs to be cut. And we aren't sure that the air conditioner will hold out another year. And, oh my goodness, Brother Jimmy's daughter is ill and he is out of town. Who will preach Sunday?
It is a difficult question. You pray hard. Listen to the guidance of the HS, and do what He tells you to do.
I have grown up in "small" churches my entire life. As far as I remember I have never gone to a Church with more the 80 members. The Church I am a member of now, probaly has about 50-70 members. (I have never counted or asked) I do not believe that one is right and one is wrong, I believe that God makes both.
I attend a small church and I like the idea of knowing everyone that I see when those doors open.
a church is not a building. It's a group of people.
Whatcha going to do when you get to heaven, and see people you don't know, Rev??
Not to worry, Rev - you'll know them ALL! <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>You and I will have the "mind of Christ" and will know all things . . and all people. It'll be just like your little church back home!
The true issue is not big or small, but the issue is am I where God wants me to be DOING what He commanded me to do: soul winning, separated living, etc. Adanirum Judson (I probably spelled his name wrong) did not have a convert for over seven years. Was he successful? I believe he was. Because he was where he should have been trying to reach the Burmese for Christ. He would not have been too "successful" in the eyes of those who are only number collectors. Bro. Hyles said that there are many missionaries around the world (or pastors in America) who are in the geological spot as "God's will" but are not DOING what the Bible commands. He said he would rather make a mistake and not be in the exact geological place God had intended (then, again, who are we to really know where God wants us?), but be doing what God commands us to do, and that is being a soul winner. Although I have been in First Baptist Church for over 27 years, I came from a growing Baptist church in Milwaukee (a BBF graduate) that had about 300. We put too much emphasis on size and not enough on duty. All the members of a New Testament church are important. Let's not measure ourselves by ourselves, let's go soul winning. Numbers are important because they represent INDIVIDUAL, never-dying souls. All any of us can do is our best. Let's measure ourselves with our own results.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Contender (and massively snipped by the Squire):
[QB]...(then, again, who are we to really know where God wants us)....[QB]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I for one can answer that question in the affirmative. As I graduated from West Point on the Rock River (aka MBBC), God called me to return to my home town of Corinth-by-the-Bay (aka San Francisco, Calif.). Now, with the state of The City and the state of the churches in it, I easily could have taken the position that I could better serve God some place else. However, just the thought leaving this place of duty gives me the chills. The place of God's appointment is many times "standing by the stuff."
As for Brother Hyles remark, I can only say with the Prophet/Judge Samuel, "Obediance is better than sacrifice and rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft." Or partial obediance is the same as disobediance. I would give as a more modern example missionaries working in France or Japan, in neither country is there low hanging fruit. Though men (and women for that matter) faithfully spread the Gospel, growth is very Judsonian.
I personally like big churches because I'm consistantly meeting new christians who go to my church and I think thats cool. Plus I personally like churches who have lots of ministries so others can get counsel and not have to go thru the pastor all the time.
Churches either are growing or dieing! It dose not matter if attendence is 10 or 10,000 as long as the chuce as a whole is growing. Through soulwinning,personal evangelism, invitations, bus/van routs, ect. It is not the how big you are now but how big you are next week, next month, or next year. It is our job to win souls, baptize them in our church and teach them to win others!!!
All church growth is not numerical. If spiritual growth does not accompany numerical growth, the multiplication will result in division.
Heard Jack Hyles (now in glory) once say that he would be happy if 15% of the people at First Baptist Hammond were truly saved.
He had a big church by man's standards and because he appeared successful in man's eyes (we just big as better) we would think 95% should be saved.
Big is definitely NOT better if the odds are 15 out of 100.