This past week, someone asked me how to reconcile the American phenomenon of “big church” with the New Testament call to discipleship. At the core, this question was about whether large churches are really discipling people or just churning out Christians who want to be entertained and catered to.
In my opinion, large churches aren’t very good at discipling people…and, in my opinion, neither are small churches. The statistics pretty clearly show that churches of all sizes are struggling to really fulfill the “make disciples” part of the Great Commission. Why? The reasons are varied and complex. But in the end, a lot of it comes down to one pretty simple fact: churches lack intentionality. Oh, they’re all intentional about something…but what that something actually is varies a lot from church to church.
People often say that big churches tend to focus a lot of numbers. And that’s true. But it’s also true that small churches tend to focus a lot on numbers, though it manifests differently. Small churches tend to work hard at keeping their core congregation happy so that they don’t leave
There is a natural tendency to think that discipleship happens best in smaller communities, and I think this is likely right, but