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"THE BENEFITS OF A SMALL CHURCH"
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. Churches come in all sizes...
   a. Some are large, numbering in the thousands, even tens of thousands
   b. Some are small, with as few as two or more people meeting in a
      home
 
2. The definition of church sizes is rather arbitrary, but here is
   one...
   a. A small church is less than 200 members (80% of churches)
   b. A medium church has 201-400 members (10% of churches)
   c. A large church as 401+ members (10% of churches)
   -- For some, even 200 members constitute a large church
 
3. Each size has its advantages...
   a. There are things a larger church can do with its increased
      resources
   b. But there are benefits of small churches often lost in larger
      churches
 
[My purpose is not to encourage stagnation in church growth, but to
remind us of the benefits (and obligations) of a small church lest we
become discouraged...]
 
I. BENEFITS OF A SMALL CHURCH
 
   A. STRONGER SENSE OF FAMILY...
      1. A small church is one where almost everyone knows each another
         a. Face-to-face interaction is much easier
         b. Even when we don't remember their names, we remember their
            "face"
      2. A small church is one where it is easier to develop familial
         relationships
         a. A sense of "family", which is proper - cf. 1 Ti 5:1-2
         b. An opportunity to cross generational lines
            1) Where children learn to relate to others besides their
               peers
            2) Where young and old benefit from each other's strengths
      -- The family of God is a wonderful blessing (Mk 10:28-30); a
         blessing most often experienced in small churches
 
   B. GREATER OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW...
      1. More likely that we are needed
         a. The roles to fulfill are not that much different between
            large and small churches
            1) Roles such as serving in public worship, Bible classes,
               etc.
            2) Whether large or small, the number of teachers,
               preachers, song leaders, etc.,
               that are needed is about the same
         b. The ratio of roles to members is usually much greater in
            small churches
            1) Simply because we do not have a large pool of members to
               choose from
            2) Therefore there is often a greater need in small churches
      2. More likely that we are used
         a. Larger churches often require a large rotation in its use of
            members
            1) Opportunities to preach, teach classes, serve in the
               public worship may be rare
            2) One may have the opportunity to be used only once in a
               long while
         b. Smaller churches use those willing to serve much more
            frequently
            1) Out of necessity at times, but can also be by design
            2) Small churches are often the training ground where
               leaders for large churches developed their skills
      3. More likely that we are missed
         a. One's absence is more keenly felt in a small church
            1) Especially when needed to fulfill a certain role (e.g.,
               Bible class teacher)
            2) One's absence can be overlooked for several weeks in a
               larger church
         b. For those needing encouragement, this is important
            1) It is too easy to get lost in a crowd
            2) We need brethren who will take notice when we begin to
               show signs of weakness - cf. Ga 6:1-2
      -- Proportionally speaking, more preachers, teachers, elders, and
         average members have been developed by small churches than
         large churches
 
[Of course, there are many things a large church can do that a small
church cannot.  But small churches have their benefits that we need to
appreciate.  They also have their obligations...]
 
II. THE OBLIGATIONS OF A SMALL CHURCH
 
   A. NURTURE SENSE OF FAMILY...
      1. Congregationally, by providing opportunities for spiritual
         fellowship
         a. E.g., Bible classes, gospel meetings, etc.
         b. E.g., visitation programs, to encourage the weak, minister
            to the sick
      2. Individually, by providing opportunities for hospitality
         a. E.g., inviting others into our homes, going out together
         b. E.g., getting together for social occasions, such as
            potlucks
      -- As we seek to nurture our sense of family, we must be careful
         not to limit our efforts to those in our physical families!
 
   B. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH...
      1. Training those willing to learn and serve
         a. E.g., men's classes on serving in public worship, preaching,
            teaching
         b. E.g., ladies' classes on teaching ladies, children
      2. Utilizing those willing to develop their abilities and talents
         a. E.g., providing opportunities for men willing to preach,
            lead singing, etc.
         b. E.g., likewise for women willing to teach children, other
            women, etc.
      -- We should not feel that a preacher is shirking his duties when
         he opens his pulpit or Bible classes so others can grow through
         such experiences - cf. 2 Ti 2:2
 
   C. WATCH FOR STAGNATION...
      1. It is tempting to want to remain small
         a. Because of the advantages of a small congregation
         b. Its warmth, friendliness, etc.
      2. The Lord expects us to grow - cf. Mt 13:31-32; Jn 15:1-2
         a. We should not be content to remain small
         b. We should be seeking to grow both as individuals and as a
            congregation
      -- If we are not on an upward spiral of growth, we are likely
         heading downward
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Again, there are advantages to different sizes in congregations...
   a. My point has not been to suggest one size is superior to another
   b. My purpose has been to ensure we do not let smallness become a
      hindrance
 
2. As a small congregation...
   a. We need to focus on our strengths, which should lead to growth
   b. If we do not, we will likely stagnate, if not die altogether
 
Focus on our strengths as a small congregation, and it is more likely we
will remain healthy when we become a larger congregation!

 

--《Executable Outlines