There is a lot in the media these days pertaining to mega churches. Their worship music, extreme trends for getting and keeping the attention of parishioners and more. However, when it comes to small congregations, these trends, and programs often don’t apply. As was stated in a Christianity Today article:
“While our brothers and sisters in bigger churches look for trends, compare notes and learn from the latest innovations, small churches usually let those trends pass us by without a ripple.”
The article goes on to say “It’s not because small churches don’t care, it’s because current trends almost never apply in smaller churches the way they do in bigger ones.”
The question that begs to be asked then is “why”? What makes ministry in smaller churches so different?
When a church has 75 regular attendees or less, the church becomes a unique place. This is because the church takes on the personality of its members. With so few members, the personalities of each person shine through. When a church is larger, individual personalities are less obvious, and the church has more of a common goal. The church itself might exhibit somewhat of a personality, but the individuals within that church are less influential over all.
For example, in a mega church, there are rules, regulations, programs, trends, apps, blogs etc. in place that moves like a well-oiled machine regardless of who is serving on a specific day. When a person steps away from their role, another steps right up to continue on, without one hiccup in the process. In small churches, each personality, each person is crucial to the ministry, and their preferences and overall personalities often shine through. Their individuals efforts are much more valuable to the church as a whole.
In small congregations, there is no need to utilize mega church trends such as social media apps and the like in order to get to know people. The group of people is small enough for the pastor and leaders of the church to know each person/family represented in the church. In a small church, spending time in the community, high school football games, local coffee shop, visiting older church members who are unable to make it to services is far more effective than installing a church wide app to keep members updated on what’s going on. Of course, even in larger churches, they could benefit from this hands on approach.
In a congregation with thousands of people, it isn’t surprising that one couple, family or individual could be missed. For example, what if a family was sick and they missed service, who would notice? The early service folks might assume the family in question was attending the later service. While the later service might think they went to another campus. Point being, there are so many services to choose from at various locations, even remote campuses, that it can be difficult to realize a family isn’t attending. The accountability for a family to be part of a ministry isn’t as pronounced in a mega church for this reason.
While larger churches can have a greater reach monetarily in their communities and worldwide due to larger revenue coming into their ministry, small churches are still just as valuable in God’s eyes. As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.”
As it states in God’s word, no service to the Lord is ever useless. This means the members who make up a small congregation are just as important to God as the members who make up mega churches. There is nothing to say that one is better than the other. However, small congregations do ministry differently as is laid out above, and that’s okay.
~ 1776 Christian