Make your church smaller

“Our church is just too big for me to know everyone. Good fellowship is just not possible.” 

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I could probably pay off my tithe for the next month. My church averages 800 or more each Sunday morning. By some standards, that’s small. In some churches you need a telescope to see the preacher and a GPS to find your way to the bathroom.

I used to think my church was too big for fellowship, but not any more. I don’t worry about the number of people because I no longer think that fellowship depends on how many bodies are in the building. There are small churches where everyone pretty much knows every one else, but the fellowship isn’t that great.

If you attend church, have you noticed what happens at the end of each Sunday service? In most cases, the same people sit in the same places and talk to the same people most every week.

Perhaps we shouldn’t feel too guilty. Even Muslims do the same thing.  I’ve been to the mosque for eight weeks in a row, and I’ve noticed that the same people sit in the same spots on the prayer carpet, the same people come in late, the same people are friendly and speak to me and the same ones walk right by me as if I were not there. 

Fellowship has a lot more to do with my outlook toward others than it does with how many others there are. Instead of bemoaning how big my church is, I have decided to take matters into my own hands by making my church smaller. No, I don’t mean running people off. I mean enriching the fellowship with those who are there.

Here are some ideas to use:

1) On your way to the next service, ask God who He wants you to bless.  Don’t leave until you bless that person.

2) Every week, meet one person you don’t know. (You are allowed to combine this with tip #1). Write his or her name down.  Look for that person next week and try to bless him or her again.

3) When someone asks you to pray for him, don’t say, “O-K, I’ll be praying for you.” What are you waiting for? Pray with him or her right then. That’s what fellowship is about.

4) Jot down that prayer request and continue praying about it. Next time you see that person, ask how God is handling the matter. (You will enjoy the look of grateful surprise on people’s faces.

Please comment and share your ideas for making your church smaller–one person at a time.

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5 Responses to Make your church smaller

  1. Guillermo Hortta says:

    Thank you very much for the suggestions


  2. woodeg says:

    When we focus on worshiping God at Church, it becomes far easier to fellowship with our brothers and sisters. I agree with Heartspeak that our self-centeredness usually is what interferes with fellowship. Stephen, your suggestions are great, with the main aspect is take the focus off ourselves and onto allowing God work though us to bless others. I know that when I have done this, I experience great fellowship.


  3. Terry Lange says:

    Great post. Good suggestions! Another way to make your church smaller is to be a part of a small group (Sunday School, Bible Study, etc)


  4. Heartspeak says:

    Ultimately, what you are talking about is a shift in perspective–from ‘me’, ‘myself’, and ‘I’, to the folks in the world around you. When we fret over the size of our church gathering we remain focused on our response to our perceptions. We don’t like it or we like it just fine, thanks. Once we lift up our eyes to the fields around us, we begin to focus on the same thing that God focuses on–Others.

    When we see them through God’s eyes and with His heart, we will soon enough be grateful for our own blessings and desirous to share them with others. It won’t be long before our life will be ‘big’ with abundant life and yet small and intimate with close relationships–as many as we can handle!


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