Most of us have heard a kid say, “I am dumb and I’ll never get it.” We unhesitatingly reply with a big “NO YOU ARE NOT!” Then we add, “Do not say that about yourself. This might not be your strongest subject, but this one thing doesn’t define you.” We would quickly correct the statement because we all know how damaging and dangerous those thoughts are to the child’s self-esteem and the impact it can have on his or her future. The child will automatically conclude he or she is a failure and not try anymore. You have seen and, most likely, have experienced that in your life.
And yet, we do it in the church all the time and it has become acceptable. We do not dare say we are dumb, but we say, “We are a small church….” Those words immediately excuse us from attempting new ministries, new approaches, or anything. These words are damaging and dangerous. In all due respect, we need to STOP the small talk. As the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (truth), and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This thought of being a small church is a stronghold in the church. It is dangerous. I am not suggesting small is bad and we all should be big. I am proposing we have allowed this thought to create a stronghold in the church. It is holding the church hostage from following Jesus and giving our best to Him. This thought has become the new death sentence of the church. It is a lie of Satan. The bible is filled with small churches that have faithfully shared the Word of God. Forty-six percent of American Churches are under 100. Small churches are needed and a blessing.
Being small has its advantages. Relationships, ownership, and the ability to mobilize come naturally. Small is simpler, and it is easier for people to connect. These are challenges for a large church. A large church constantly has to work at these attributes that many of us in small churches take for granted. Therefore, the reverse is true. A large church can make a big impact because it is already large. It comes naturally. For a small church, a large impact doesn’t come naturally. It takes constant effort and focus. It starts by stopping the small talk and believing God has a calling for this faithful church to fill in the community.
Michael Jordan was cut from the middle school basketball team. He didn’t start in high school, but he became one of the greatest players. Why? Because he didn’t let his current situation define him, and he dedicated himself to the work of basketball. We need to renew our minds in the power of Christ and dedicate our best to His work.
Do not let your size stop you from pursuing Jesus and His kingdom. We have divine power. God that is in you is greater than anything outside of you. You are already victorious in Christ. Let’s live as the champions we are and take on the challenges. Discover the calling and watch God build His church. We have several thriving small churches in the Southern District, and they are all unique. Let’s learn from one another, share with one another, and grow together in Christ. Stop the small talk! Renew our minds in Christ. Let’s share some God talks of what God is doing in His small, wonderful, and influential churches.
by: Rev. Jason Scheler, Mission Executive of the LCMS Southern District