Here is a very brief summary of the book, The Strategically Small Church:
The small church is defined as a church no bigger than 500. According to the Harford Institute for Religion Research (the most well-respected group in the U.S. for the study of religious issues, IMHO), there are 177,000 churches in America with fewer than 100 worshipers and another 105,000 churches that are between 100 and 500. Thus, most small churches are less than 100. About 6% of all churches in America (19,000) have more than 500 attendees.
Small churches are uniquely equipped to carry out three vital functions of the church: (1) evangelism, (2) discipleship (including leadership development), (3) passing faith down from one generation to the next.
Small churches, when done strategically, can be more effective than large churches in four areas:
1) Authenticity. Here is the key: Authenticity cannot be a strategy for church growth, if it is, it is no longer authentic.
2) Nimbleness. A lack of “red-tape” makes it easier to change course and meet needs.
3) Equipping. Small church pastors, because they don’t have a ton of programs to run, can equip their members where they are passionate and can encourage their members to see their ministries as being involved in the real world (PTA, little league, etc…)
4) Intergenerational Church. “…young people are not looking for another entertaining, age-specific worship experience. Instead they desperately desire a church that can offer them something they can find nowhere else in the world: a family. This is good news for the church with eyes to see; a family is just what the community of faith is called to be” (p. 126).
And here is a good concluding quote:
“…the primary disadvantage of the small church isn’t our methodology. Neither is it our location, our worship style, or our lack of resources. Our primary problem is perception. Many of us have been trained so thoroughly to imagine ministry success in a particular way, or accoring to particular criteria, that we’ve become disenchanted with our own churches. We can’t stratgize our way out of that mess. What we need is a renewed imagination” (pp. 155-156).
I am interested in your thoughts.