"Larger churches will have a more difficult time staying larger. At least, that is my postulate according to our early research. And to be clear, I am defining a larger church by the size of its largest worship service, not by its total attendance." - Thom Rainer
By Daryl Neipp
In his book Satisfied, Jeff Manion describes a fictional interaction to which we can all relate. It’s a warm evening. A dad calls to his son, who is playing in the backyard, “Would you like some ice cream?” The son bounds into the house, where he finds a large scoop of ice cream in his bowl, and life is good (especially if it is mint chocolate chip).
However, what if there are two boys? The dad calls them both in from playing. What if they find their ice cream but the scoop distribution is not exactly equitable? It wouldn’t be long until the dad heard, “That’s NOT fair!” from one of the boys.
We can conclude that the issue would have nothing to do with what one boy received; rather, it would have everything to do with what the other received. This is how comparisons work: we look at what someone else has, then become discontent with what we have. While this little story is something we can all smile about, the problem of comparison is not something we simply outgrow. Well into adulthood we carry this tendency to always search for the greener grass, which can be particularly harmful within ministry contexts.
"Two-thirds of churches have an attendance under 125. The smaller church is the norm, not the exception. And though the news has not been that promising for smaller churches in recent years, I do see some very promising signs for the years ahead. Why do I make such an apparently contrarian statement? Here are five reasons." - Thom Rainer
"A new study from Exponential by LifeWay ... gives a clear picture of the state of Protestant churches in America today. Most have fewer than 100 people attending services each Sunday (57%), including 21 percent who average fewer than 50. Around 1 in 10 churches (11%) average 250 or more for their worship services." - Christianity Today