Does Size Really Matter?

“Everything is bigger in Texas.” “Bigger is better.” “Do you want to SuperSize that?”
We live in a size-obsessed culture in so many ways. The assumption is often made that bigger organizations are always more able to do and accomplish what smaller organizations simply cannot. While there are certainly examples of this, it isn’t always the case. The primary difference is scale: larger organizations seem to accomplish more due to the scale at which they can effect change. Smaller organizations, however, typically can make a greater proportional impact on a smaller scale. The problem is that smaller organizations frequently assume that they cannot make much of a difference and regularly do not even attempt to do so.
Why does this matter or the church? We believe God is calling us to “Multiply Disciples and Churches” as Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ here in Texas. As I travel about the Texas District and have conversations with pastors and church leaders, I encounter a common assumption that church planting is an activity for either church bodies or mega churches. As an association of congregations, we are committed to congregational mission. The most effective model for planting new churches is when they are parented by one or more congregations that are actively involved in the new mission effort. Since the typical congregation in Texas has a worship attendance of around 65 or 70 people, most believe that they are far too small to do such a big thing as to plant a church.
But this simply is not the case. When it comes to church planting, churches of every size can and have successfully reproduced for Kingdom impact! While it is true that larger churches typically have more capacity of people, leadership, and resources, mostly this impacts the scale at which they can plant churches as compared to a smaller congregation. It might surprise you that statistically speaking, congregations of 200 to 500 people have proven to be the most effective at planting churches that reach unreached people in North America. Church planting is not exclusively for mega churches!
So does size really matter? Not so much when it comes to planting churches. What matters far more is the faith of the church planting church! Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 17:20, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I would like to invite you and your congregation to a conversation and engage in prayerful dialog with God and one another. Ask: “What could it look like for our congregation to engage in church planting?” Remember, nothing is impossible with God!