This Church is too big. We are quitting to go to a smaller church.
I’ve heard this a few times over the years and it baffles me. I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of others who feel this way and it still doesn’t make a lot of sense.
In my experience, I’ve found that those who leave for this reason see church in a way that is more me centered than they centered. It’s the “big fish in a little pond” way of thinking. Some people feel in order for church to be a family, everyone must know each other well. The focus in more on the lifestyle than on the mission.
Some feel they should know everyone in the church community. They like the small church feel. They like what I call the “Cheers factor”, you know, “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name”. I like going to church and I enjoy seeing my friends, but when our church community comes together on the weekends, it must be all about the people who are not a part of our church –the non Christians. Although I socialize, socializing is not why I come on weekends to our church. Although I see most of my good friends, this is not why I show up every weekend. I come to church on weekends to worship God and to serve those who are not yet a part of His kingdom. The rest of what happens is a benefit. This must be a part of our church culture.
I’ve also found that most people who say or feel that the church is too big are not a part of a small group. Our church used to be a lot smaller and every time we came together, it felt like a small group. We could do a lot together –cookouts, softball games, parties, etc…, but as we began to approach 200, things began to change. Everybody didn’t know everybody’s name, and everybody didn’t care whether or not you came. We had to become intentional about our small groups, and when we did, we stepped into a whole new dimension of church culture. Our church has never been the same, and I can’t imagine ever doing church without small groups.
Every healthy church will grow, and will eventually lose that small church feel on weekends. For our church, small groups answers the question “how can we keep the small church feel and yet continue to grow healthier and larger?”
The church is supposed to be big. God wants a big family. This is why He told us to go into the entire world. If you want a small church feel or experience, don’t quit your big church, join a small group. Being a part of a small group that is part of a healthy growing church is the best of both worlds.