Karl Vaters on Church Growth: Before Asking ‘Does It Scale?’ We Need to Ask, ‘Should It Scale?’

Image: Ravi Roshan | Unsplash

Not everything is scalable.

Church growth is. But not every aspect of church health is.

Not only is bigger not always better, in some cases pushing for numerical growth can actually be harmful to the mission of a local church.

Scalability Is Not Universal

There are a lot of great, healthy, kingdom-minded, community-impacting churches whose health and influence are directly tied to their smallness and intimacy.

Churches that reach a niche segment of society. Churches that minister on a more personal level. Churches in which the pastor’s call and gifting is more effective in an intimate setting than in a big one.

Certainly, this is not universal. And it should never be used as an excuse for a church that is simply ineffective and stuck. But having a scalable church model isn’t universal, either. And not every church that is holding steady numbers is stuck.

Crowds Aren’t For Everyone

Crowds are great. Sometimes.

For some people.

But they’re not for everyone.

In fact, for many people, being in a big room with lots of people is not an aid to their spiritual journey, it’s an obstacle.

If we’re going to be serious about removing anything that hinders people from drawing close to Jesus, we need to be supportive of local churches that provide a setting for the very large segment of society that needs smallness as an integral part of their spiritual growth.

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Source: Christianity Today