In our town, on nearly every corner from the back roads to the main highways, there are little churches where 20-80 people regularly attend and fellowship together around the common teaching of the gospel. One stretch of road on the way to my church is no more than five miles long and I can count thirteen churches as I drive. I make a point to often pray for each one as I drive by them. They all have a unique role in the community and a unique purpose which God has given them. Christ died for each of those assemblies. In reality, they are blood-bought churches that are responsible to share the grace of God and the light of Jesus in the community. Out on the main highway there are a few larger assemblies and along the way a few "mega-churches." May God bless all who preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple others into the family of God.
I do love the local church — all sizes, all varieties, all strategies — and all the gifts that God is using to bring His message of grace and hope into the local communities. But I especially love the small churches. Having served in both small and large churches, I understand how God can work within both sizes. For the last 18 years of serving a congregation of under 100, I can truly say that it is an amazing privilege to see God at work in a small assembly.
God Often Chooses Small
I believe God does not need a lot of megachurches, but instead prefers a lot of smaller, more resilient, and less culturally dependent churches. Think about God and how He uses small things. Moses was a small, fearful, and even reticent man who God used to bring Israel out of slavery. By the way, he did it with a small stick (what is that you have in your hand Moses?) Gideon was a weak, insecure, timid, and doubtful person who God used to defeat an army of terrorists called the Midianites. And God did it with 300 unarmed Israelites who had a small pot and small horn. (Judges 6) David as a shepherd boy, delivering bread and cheese (pizza-delivery boy) to his brothers at the warfront, is a great example of God choosing small (1 Samuel 17). The entire army of Israel had been given 40 days to decide to fight for the glory of God and not one soldier, much less thousands, charged the enemy. But little David, small and full of faith, did a great work on day forty-one, and the award-winning giant fell when a small rock from a sling sunk into his skull!
What about Esther, a quiet and unknown woman, who against all odds saved a nation from destruction? Her chances were small. Her calling was huge. Her training was small. But she was courageous. And then there's the little boy in John 6 who offered up his lunch for Jesus to use. Think about it, in the crowd of thousands there would have been numerous lunches. All the parents there were not stupid. They followed Jesus into a wilderness area. Surely they packed some snacks. But one young boy was willing to share and wow did Jesus show Him how God can share! His small lunch became the all-you-can-eat buffet for over 10,000 people.
And there's the carpenter's son himself, from that little no-where town called Nazareth. Can anything good come from Nazareth? YES, praise God! Jesus, who defeated death, hell, and the grave and gave us victory over sin, came from that small, insignificant town. Jesus himself chose a small band of twelve and developed a strong inner circle of three men who would radically change the world for the cause of the gospel. When God chooses small, it makes His glory far more evident.
Small is Usable
Every story in the Scriptures of small things and small people becoming great instruments of God requires faith and courage. So, God bless our small churches. Please do not underestimate what God can do with your ministry if and when you are faithful and courageous. God bless our pastors who serve and sacrifice daily for these smaller congregations. Your rewards in heaven will be great and your sacrifice here for the cause of the gospel does have enormous value.
At 6.14 Ministries, we desire to come alongside congregations for support and encouragement. We want to help you have the vision, courage, and faith to be the strong small church God has called you to be. If you would like to get to know us better, please reach out by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you and for your church.