Megachurches are astonishing. The size of their crowds, budgets, meeting places, and ministry lists are enough to cause many to be impressed even though they may not be in agreement with their doctrine and practices. Former shopping malls and sports arenas are now housing some of the world’s largest megachurches. Even in fundamental circles, the large ministries are the ones that are often paraded as the epitomes of spiritual success in ministerial training classes, conferences, and publications. The emphasis on bigness can leave a smaller congregation feeling as though they are not doing much and that there is not much they can do unless they reach a certain size. This is simply not true. One of the many things I appreciate about the Lord is this. He can take a small church and give it a large ministry. As a pastor of a small congregation, this truth is encouraging to me, and I trust this article will be an encouragement to you. While some churches may not be megachurches, they can have mega-ministries. Mega-ministry is “where it’s at.”
Conventional thinking implies that we can do more with greater numbers, but the Bible repeatedly shows that God can also do mighty things through small groups. In Judges 7, God chose to use 300 instead of 32,000. In the Gospels, we see that our Lord chose a crowd of 12, and 11 of them would be used to help turn the world upside down for God. The God who chose to use five loaves and two fishes to feed thousands is the same God who today can give a small congregation a large ministry for His glory.
The Burden for Mega-Ministry
“How do you know who God is?” This was the question a young teen recently asked a friend and me as we were witnessing to him at a park near our church. The reality is that God has put our churches in places where many people have similar spiritual needs and unanswered questions. We must do all we can to reach them. We need to have a ministry that is bigger than our attendance.
Mega-Ministry and Prayer
The ministry of prayer is a huge ministry because God has backed His commands to pray with some powerful promises. Do we believe God’s Word when it says, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” in Matthew 21:22? Do we understand that prayer is to be the priority of every congregation, according to 1 Timothy 2:1? Do we believe all of the other promises God made when He commanded His children to pray? Why is it then that prayer services are the least attended services in most churches? There are a number of small churches here in the Capital Region. I know one church that still meets in homes and has seen more young people enter full-time Christian ministry than all of the other fundamental churches combined because the pastor and people pray. While Calvary Baptist Church is a small congregation made up of mostly middle class people, we have been the recipient of one great blessing after another. The income has exceeded the budget every year. The list of missionaries financially supported by this church is greater than many churches our size. The move from meeting in homes to meeting in one of the largest fundamental church facilities in the area without debt is nothing more than a gracious work of God. All of these blessings came from God in answer to prayer. He may not choose to bless your church in the exact same ways, but He will bless if you pray. He has promised to do so.
Mega-Ministry and Creative Evangelism
The conventional models of evangelism are important, but our small churches need to be creative in finding ways to get the Gospel out to our communities. Preaching the Gospel in our church services is important, but the reality is that most unsaved people in our communities will never darken the doors of our churches. We can get discouraged and mad at people for not wanting to come to our church, or we can find creative ways to reach them for the Lord. During the month of May, we decided to hold “Missing Peace” meetings throughout our community. Instead of meeting at church on Wednesday night, we reserved places at area parks. People were invited to attend the “Missing Peace” meetings at these parks on Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6-8 p.m. Each event began with a “Kickoff Cookout” at 6 p.m. followed by a 30- to 40-minute meeting at 7 p.m, when Evangelist Mike Pelletier gave the Gospel. Each event was special. At one particular event, we had a tent full of Christians, unsaved people, homeless people, and wealthy people. It was so sweet to be able to give each person the Word of God. We had the opportunity to share the Gospel in the month of May with more people than ever in our history. A number of people made professions of faith in Christ. Others went away thinking about what they had heard. We are confident that God will accomplish His purposes with every seed sown from His Word. While the May outreach was one of the larger events we have done, our congregation is always seeking for ways to reach the lost in addition to the conventional models. We recently placed a thousand flyers on doors, inviting people to host “Questions about God” meetings in their homes. We offered to provide donuts, coffee, and a trained Christian to come and answer any questions they wished to ask about God. What can you do to reach your community?
Mega-Ministry and the Mind to Work
When the believers who make up a small church are willing to labor for the Lord, they can take courage that their “labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). The people of Calvary Baptist Church are not perfect, but a bunch of them are hard workers for the Lord. The month of May was one of the most tiresome months in the history of this ministry. When the May outreach ended, people were tired; but it was what we call a “good tired,” the kind of tired that came from doing something God wanted us to do with all our hearts. Like many other small churches, the congregation here does the work of churches that are double their size.
Mega-Ministry and Contentment
If God calls you to serve in a small church, do not view that calling as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Instead, rejoice in the fact that you serve a great God who can bless you beyond your size and enable you to make an impact for His glory. Ask your congregation to join you in trusting God to do great things for His glory in your midst. At this point in time, there is not a place I would rather be than right here! Mega-ministry is “where it’s at.”
Pastor Joe Roof graduated from Bob Jones University with a B.A. and an M.A. in Bible. In 1993, he led in the planting of Fellowship Baptist Church in Schenectady, New York; and later in the merging of Fellowship Baptist Church and the Peoples Baptist Church of Albany, New York. Calvary Baptist Church is the result of this merger. In 1998, Joe also led in the planting of the Adirondack Baptist Church in Amsterdam, New York. He serves as vice president of the Fellowship of Fundamental Bible Churches and on the boards of Plant America and the Catskill Mountain Missionary Association.