Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Church size, influence, and significance

I'll be brief:

Remember that none of the churches in the New Testament had their own building.

Remember that most of the churches envisioned in the New Testament could fit into a house.

And yet...

The churches in the New Testament managed to tilt their world.

What does that tell us?

37 comments:

Al said...

It tells us the Apostles did not have John Maxwell providing leadership training... lucky.

al sends

Tim Bertolet said...

In the words of Yoda: "size matters not"

slave4Christ said...

Thanks Dan.
This is sooo.... encouraging!
We too do not have our own building. We are a small congregation that could fit in a house, and after reading TWTG we too are trying to turn the world upside down.
Thank you again for writing this life changing book!

David Kjos said...

It tells us that evangelism happens primarily outside the place of meeting as the church goes out into the world.

Frank Turk said...

It says you're not qualified to sit in judgment of men with fruitful ministries, blogger. Jealous Blogger. Jealous racist blogger.

Pheh!

DJP said...

Haters.

Pastor David Pitman said...

Everyone needs to buy The World Tilting Gospel?

DJP said...

While I certainly appreciate the sentiment, let me say (before someone else does): the NT church also didn't have a copy of TWTG.

(c:

(Didn't need to read it, too busy providing the foundation for it!)

Pastor David Pitman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jules LaPierre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jules LaPierre said...

Remember that membership in the churches in the New Testament could also mean ostracization or even death.

Robert said...

You are a radical...and a hater.

Gilbert said...

Dan,

It's finally dawned on me. You're just jealous that you haven't been "picked" out of the crowd for a Benny Hinn healing. ;-P

But seriously...

No stage lights, no 10,000 watt PA systems at 135 decibels. No high definition cameras with video streaming, no words on a screen. And let's face it: Even though Phil Johnson's church has much of what I described...

NONE of it has saved a soul. None. And it never will.

The significance of a church's influence is the direct correlation between Christ crucified and resurrected clearly preached, and hearts pierced by it.

Wish I had know that years ago.

Gilbert said...

And BTW, that wasn't a bash on Phil's church, to be clear. What we have for sound, lighting and video makes the Gospel crystal clear for people to see and hear, nothing more.

Or...it should be nothing more.

Robert said...

Honestly, it doesn't matter how big the church is if there is no Bible open and being preached from with people being captive to the Word and its exposition. Some of the biggest churches have plenty of fancy, flashy things to dazzle and entertain people, but anybody who has been to an amusement park can tell you that entertainment doesn't sustain or build you up.

Jesus spoke the Word to one woman at a well and that stirred up an entire community of Samaritans to come seek Him. Paul went to a riverside and preached the truth to some women and started his evangelistic efforts in Europe. And then Paul wound up being run off from every place because he spoke the truth...he surely wasn't worried about the size of his congregations or if they had a big, fancy building.

Rhology said...

It means you live in your mom's basement.

CAPTSteveHardy said...

One thing that's struck me recently as I've been studying I Corinthians is that the members of the early church had to live within itself. Members couldn't run off to another church if they got their noses out of joint. The flip side is that the members submitted themselves to the teaching, leadership and discipline of the church, and basically, had to 'make it work'. Even as disfunctional as the Corinthian church was in many ways, Paul gave a strong commitment to sharpening this body for effective service. So many churches and so many members of today's churches are unwilling to commit to God's work through His Word to be God's influence and significance in their communities.

DJP said...

Excellent point. Nowadays, when the going gets tough, the tough split off and start a new church.

Rachael Starke said...

....that we need to abandon old, American imperialist ideas about church, and go back to meeting in houses, with everyone teaching everyone, living together missionally, and having parties with Togos sandwiches and a keg to symbolize our unified party community in Christ.

DJP said...

Darned hippies.

Kerry James Allen said...

"Remember, dear brother if you give your whole soul to the charge committed to you, it does not matter much about its appearing to be a somewhat small and insignificant affair, for as much skill may be displayed in the manufacture of a very tiny watch as in the construction of the town clock; in fact, a minute article may become the object of greater wonder than another of larger dimensions. Quality is a far more precious thing than quantity." CHS

Kerry James Allen said...

Amen to this article. I was saved on a hot Sunday night in a broken down church with about 12 people present. They didn't have a pastor and a freshman Bible institute student home for the summer was preaching. No sound system, no video, nothing but the pure Gospel, a small group of friendly people, and a God who needs none of our so called methods and improvements. "Who hath despised the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10

lee n. field said...

"One thing that's struck me recently as I've been studying I Corinthians is that the members of the early church had to live within itself. Members couldn't run off to another church if they got their noses out of joint. "

Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? The apostle John in 3 John notes in passing someone in a local church abusing his authority, and putting out of the church those that disagree.

Larry said...

You have to be sharp to read these comments and realize who was being sarcastic and who serious. Turk scared me until I saw it was him. But, being serious, I can say I have belonged to a large church for decades and it has convinced me small churches fit the Biblical model better. The big church always ends up as a congregation watching the staff do stuff, offering services from child care, to coffee shops,to keeping the youth busy, to cruises. There is little accountability and the need to maintain the income level to support the cost of the facilities drives much of the business.

DJP said...

Ideal church size: 217.

You're welcome.

mike said...

217
That's not very "fruitful" that is less than 40 people at each of the 6 services, and when we try to divide into the rock worship service, the hymns service, and the country service we would never have enough people to attract a real cool worship band.
You clearly need to give this more thought

Robert said...

DJP,

Have you worked out the numerology on that number? Surely there must be some secret to the number 217 that could be decoded...maybe we should ask Harold Camping since he knows how to work out all of those secret numbers...

Pierre Saikaley said...

The churches'power and influence is proportionate to the power of the Gospel it boldly preaches, not the things that the world esteems as powerful,sophisticated and successful.

Robert said...

So are you saying that if you were lining up guest speakers at a conference, the size of the congregation wouldn't be the first qualification you looked for? You know...kinda like that circus event that just happened?

DJP said...

Oh, I don't know, Robert, I'd just be theorizing if I answered.

I will say: it'd be cool if one big-name conf would give one slot to a smaller-church pastor. Think what (say) Tom Chantry might bring to such an affair.

Robert said...

The Shepherd's Conference will have Voddie Baucham as a keynote speaker this year...his church has less than 500 people, so I'd say that is pretty small for the Houston area. I'm looking forward to it because I'm finally able to attend the conference this year.

DJP said...

There y'go.

Rita Tomassetti said...

amen!
what does it tell us? what Frank wrote on the third blog post on marriage and the gospel...what Methetes wrote to.. Diognetus?? why couldn't they have simple names like Matt and Doug!?...anyhow...what he wrote to his friend...that's what it tells us "they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life." a "method of life" driven by the gospel, which is world tilting.

Dan I do have to confess I have yet to buy your book :'( but I assure you it is in my to-do list.

Solameanie said...

Chuckling at the comments while also deeply appreciating your posts, Dan. Echoes what I've been thinking for a long time. There's nothing inherently wrong with a large church, but the pitfalls once a church gets to be that size are enormous.

As an aside, when filling the pulpit last year at a small E-Free church near Chicago, afterward the pastor (who was present but not up to preaching that day) said to me, "I'm surprised some church hasn't snapped you up yet." I bit my tongue, because I almost said, "That's precisely what I'm afraid of. Being "snapped up." ;)

threegirldad said...

Ideal church size: 217.

Hmmmm...

Must be some magic formula you're keeping from the rest of us.

;-)

Wendy said...

I thought the ideal church size was 42.

Eddie Eddings said...

Sir Dan, your books and your blog are page and digital page turners. Hats off to your creativity!
I hope to help increase your readership by promoting you on my blog...as if you need a promotion.
Keep up the God work, brother!