The following is the preface of the new book I'm writing about SMALL CHURCHES. It is an ongoing project and I'm thankful for all the input I've received thus far ... Both positive and negative.
The following book is a collection of my observations and is not meant to be all-inclusive. Some may take offense, but my intention is not to offend anyone. Instead I hope God will use these few words to cause us to examine ourselves and become more motivated to reach our generation for Christ.
I have spent several years researching this subject. I have dedicated myself to helping the smaller church and it is my belief that if our nation is to experience revival again, it will come through our smaller churches.
There are reasons that some churches are small. Sometimes they are small because they are in a small, remote community. The field God has placed them in will only yield a certain amount. It stands to reason that a garden that is an acre in size will produce more than one that is only big enough to host a single plant! I have preached in several churches in this situation and they are actively doing all they can do to reach their community.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." John 15:4-5, 8
But many times churches are small because they are no longer vibrant and healthy! God has placed them in a place where there is much fruit to be reaped, but they have lost their will to be what they should be! Some have even become comfortable with being complacent. They use the same dead excuses to make themselves feel better! I have often heard people say that they are small because “they can’t take preaching”. Yet, there is another church in their community that holds to the same doctrine and preaches the same message that is thriving! Maybe it’s time to look into the mirror and see if there is something we have neglected in our own ministry. Maybe it’s time to get back on our knees and ask God, “Is it me?” instead of automatically calling everyone else a compromiser. Maybe the others have compromised, but we cannot use them for an excuse. We must examine ourselves and through prayer let God examine us.
A small church is not necessarily small in attendance. There are plenty of churches that have “numbers”, but they have left the path they once traveled! At one time, they were an infant church that probably started in a living room or store front. They prayed, they preached, and they dedicated themselves to reaching people for Christ. But once they reached a certain size they became satisfied. They are no longer actively doing those things which made them vibrant. They have become SMALL MINDED! They are just a few years away from becoming a church of 20 in a building that once held 200.
The answer is obvious. WE NEED REVIVAL! We need to return to that place in history where God had his hand upon us. We need the power of God back, but we will never get there until we look in the mirror and ask, “Is it me?”