Small is big

If you’ve been a part of the Christian culture for any length of time it becomes clear that we are enamored with big churches. There is something that happens when a church hits that threshold of 1000 people that seems magical. It’s almost as if that community is now a real church and can be taken seriously. I’ve read enough material from church planting organizations that give lip service to creating ‘healthy’ communities while inferring that the true goal is rapid numerical growth.

However, I believe that system is coming to a painful but needed end.

Here

The culture in the U.S. is slowly becoming more and more hostile to the Christian faith. While those on the outside claim we are merely crying wolf it seems very clear that the eroding of religious freedom is going to force a change in what the church will look like (and I don’t believe this is limited to the Christian faith). There is nothing wrong with being a part of a large church, nor of astronomical growth, but a change in the DNA of the church does take place when such growth occurs. It can be difficult to be a pastor when the congregation, the elder board, and perhaps even the denomination is pushing for growth without the same zeal for a mature relationship with Christ. And if the culture has no patience for large groups of Christians congregating together? The time for a different strategy is coming quickly.

The success of the church in the future may not be in how quickly it can grow but more in how small it can stay. While we will always put forth effort in evangelizing and converting we will need a process of multiplying when we have hit certain numerical thresholds. We may not have the luxury of thinking in terms of ‘thousands’ but more so in groups of 50 or 100. Church planting of small churches by small churches may be the best option at survival. Simple and sustainable will be the hallmarks of new churches desiring to take root and make an impact in their local neighborhoods.

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Change of Focus

Like a lot of people my age I can have difficulties committing to anything that could potentially remove options. If I choose path A then it is likely I cannot go down path B. Yet I still attempt to do both with the full knowledge this is impossible. But when one commits to a path, when they invest their time and energy into what is needed to succeed on the path, it can be amazing the doors that are opened. True, it may remove potential opportunities in one direction and yet it can open up an array of possibilities.

For much too long I have been sitting on the fence regarding a variety of things. As I speak to friends and colleagues I realize I’m certainly not alone and yet that does not fill me with any confidence. I don’t want to be someone who stands for nothing and never pursues what is most important to me. Like all people I’ve been given certain skills and gifts yet I have rarely used them to their full potential. Sometimes this has been due to a fear of failure, or a concern of what others will think of me, but these are never good reasons to hesitate in moving forward.

Because of this the focus of this blog is going to change. While I will still be writing about simple living the focus will be more on the church and how the ideas of simplicity can affect how the church functions. As there appears to be some changes on the horizon concerning how the church interacts with the culture it will be important that we flesh out what this will look like.

I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, however my hope is that I can provide some answers which can be used as a springboard for future conversation. I hope you’ll be willing to join me on this journey.