Is Bigger Better?
In the developed world, especially the United States, size is celebrated. If something is big, we judge it as good. If it’s bigger, we applaud it as better. And if it’s the biggest, we acclaim it as the best. People equate size with success.
Churches fall into this same trap.
If a church is big, people assume God is pleased, that he has blessed them. Surely, God’s favor rests upon big houses of worship. The bigger it is, the more spiritual they must be, more holy in character and surely more loved by the Almighty. People, both those in the church and those outside, equate size with success.
The opposite implication is that small churches are somehow lacking. Little is lamented. The logic is that tiny churches must be doing something wrong. God is surely displeased, so he withholds his favor. Their small numbers suggests serious spiritual error.
We likewise judge ministers at these churches, with large-church leaders celebrated and small-church leaders ignored. But this is a societal assessment, not a spiritual indicator.
While there could be an element of truth in these assumptions, they are far from universal. Too often, big churches have little connection with high spiritual standing, but are merely a reflection of successfully tapping into society’s consumer mindset. While small churches may best provide the opportunity for spiritual growth.
With God, size doesn’t matter. And if he doesn’t care, why should we?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.