There is new interest in promoting small-church ministry, even if megachurch-church models still seem to be winning the day.
Pointing out that roughly half of all churches in America are under 200 members, and two-thirds have fewer than 300, Loren Seibold writes in Christianity Today (Feb. 8) that today most church resource and growth programs are geared for the larger churches. Denominational leaders and many parish pastors accept the view that the “better” parishes are the large ones; they set the standards for all parish programs.
Some even believe small churches are “failed large ones” and should consider going under. Seibold adds that this is not the case. Small church ministry, both in villages, the rural areas and some suburban fringes, offer two major strengths not available in the “successful” large parishes: stability and continuity of relationships.
Members here are not caught up in pursuing the latest new programs, they conserve their values and beliefs, their relationships and friendships. Pastors of small congregations often become trusted members of nurturing communities, cultivating the virtues of friendship, enthusiasm and careful listening.
— By Erling Jorstad.