Thinking Out Loud

November 18, 2010

Sometimes Bigger IS Necessarily Better

I’ve been thinking (not out loud) all day about this one.

Sometimes a church or ministry organization will begin a period of rapid and accelerating growth.   They hire new staff.   They add new programs or services.   They need larger premises in which to conduct their activities.

All this time, there are people critics standing on the sidelines suggesting that they’ve created a monster, and now all their energies need to be spent feeding the beast.

And that’s often the case.

Sometimes growth is a natural product of the effectiveness of a church or parachurch organizations ministry.   If it’s working, if it’s blessing people, if it’s bringing people into the kingdom, we want to see it grow, right?

Now… I know there are people reading this who have an issue with “big.”    They like to give to niche mission organizations and perhaps their weekly worship thing is a smaller congregation or even a home church.   Is that you?   Then trust me, I’m on-side.  I know the intimacy that comes through worship in a smaller group, and I know that your missions giving yields more bang for your buck when the people in the office and the people ministering on the front lines are the same people.

I’m not, across-the-board, in favor of “big.”

But I also realized today that there are some major liabilities that can take place when you have a ministry that is powerful and effective, but somewhere along the line you failed — or were unable — to build an organization.

This isn’t about the fact that as president of my own company, I occasionally empty the wastebaskets or clean the toilets.   I don’t mind modeling servant leadership.    In fact, there’s nothing I would ask any employee to do that I don’t do or haven’t done myself.     I believe good leadership involves getting your hands dirty.

I’m just realizing that perhaps as a leader, I failed to set my sights on greater possibilities, and am paying the price today for not bringing in more strategic partnerships.

Because I think that sometimes, bigger is better.   Even in church and ministry.


lower image: (click link)


  1. I am one who prefers (and works better) in a small Church which operates more as a family, but in such a group there is a danger of becoming satisfied with things the way they are. There MUST be growth and that growth must be constant.

    I am a goal setter and while I believe goals should be realistic, they should also be a challenge that stretches us. Big is better.

    Thankfully, our God is a BIG God – an awesome God, who equips us and enables us to do whatever He calls us to do. Sometimes that is waaaaaay too big for us, but NOT for HIM, and in His enabling, we see completion.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — November 20, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  2. We would probably agree about the ministry value that can take place in “small” settings. The danger is in over-reacting and not being willing to see if God would desire something to grow.

    Of course, I began the post’s title with the word “sometimes” so I’ve hedged my bets here from the beginning!!

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — November 20, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

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