To think a small church

This post can be seen as a continuation of my previous post on my thoughts on restructuring, but it primarily sprouted from my reflections on my previous and current experience leading a lifegroup in church.

Often (or not so seldom), I have heard of people in church comparing a large or megachurch to that of a small church. One of the main argument for a small church is that the small size of the church allows the people in the church to know one another and to do life together whilst for a large church, people tend to be more distant from one another and the chance to know everyone in the church decreases with the the increasing number of people.

Let's just concede a point. It is almost impossible for people in a large church to know one another. I bet today, our pastors in Hope Singapore won't know every single person in the church. And it would almost be a drudgery if you belong to a small church and you don't really know the people in the church.

The problem with the argument about knowing everyone in the church lies upon a flawed assumption: that you need to know everyone in the church. But it is understandable because that's precisely the ideal state, that we know the people in church and we do life together. That's precisely the whole idea of a local church, where a group of Christ followers come together to find fellowship and to spur one another on towards Christlikeness and the advancement of God's Kingdom. Yet, does this mean that a church should stop growing once it reached a particular size so that people can know one another?

Hardly.

I believe that a church that is Kingdom minded will always expand and grow, rate of growth notwithstanding. Each church will grow at a different rate and will cater to different group of people. Yet, it is hardly believable to fathom that a church that believes deeply in the Great Commission will not grow and reach out to people. It is hardly imaginable that a group of Christ followers will not move to advance the Great Commission without making disciples and making disciple makers. Of course, maybe some churches will remain small by God's purpose, and some will grow into megachurches, by God's purpose as well.

So does that mean that people have to be disenfranchised when the church grows bigger?

Again, hardly.

As a church grows bigger, it must become smaller at the same time. This sounds like an oxymoron, but it is true. At least in Hope, the system of lifegroup provides the very conduit for the church to become smaller while growing bigger. Each lifegroup, from what I see, constitute a church in its own. A church, after all, just refers to the gathering of Christ followers. A lifegroup, I believe, is meant to be mobile, to be able to reach and meet the specific needs of people in the church, to provide the fellowship and the encouragement, spurring on and the discipleship needed. When the people can't get to build intimate relationship with the people in the church, they can do so in the lifegroup. That's the very amazing thing about being in a small group, which unfortunately, may have been underemphasized in some of the larger churches. I am convicted that the glamour of a church (if there's any to begin with in the first place) can be found in a vibrant lifegroup rather than a highly well-run church service.

In short, the lifegroup in a church should be the church to its members. This is where lives meet and lives are shared. To those who think that a small church is better, let the lifegroup be the church you want to be in.

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