In my more contrarian days (which, if I am honest, are still here), I was pretty opinionated on church size. I may have even made a sweeping statement or two. Thankfully, I have loving and wise mentors serving in big churches and small churches and medium churches and, I hope, have helped me to have a fairly balanced, humble, and generous perspective on church models, sizes, and structures. That said, currently loving and serving a small church community, I get excited dreaming and imagining the kingdom beauty that can emerge from mustard seed-sized churches.
I recently finished The Strategically Small Church by Brandon O’Brien and had a review posted over at The Burner Blog. The book does a great job outlining the unique importance of small church ministry. In a culture where Christians LOVE big churches (and love talking about big churches, comparing themselves to big churches, modeling their ministries after big churches, etc.), it was nice to read some great thoughts on why small churches are important too.
It also reminded me of another book I read and appreciated lately – Your Church is Too Small by John Armstrong – which I posted about here. The titles suggest contradictory messages, but both books are moving forward on a similar trajectory. Brandon focuses on the unique calling of small churches (while being careful not to demonize large churches), while John talks about the need for a big-picture unified understanding of the Church universal.
I am excited to see conversations encouraging churches to (a) embrace their unique calling and (b) recognize the need for unique callings in other congregations. No one particular local church (or denomination of local church, or model of local church) embodies God’s vision for what the Scriptures call the bride of Christ.
What would it look like if we were really good at remembering and embodying these ideas?