Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 10 Reasons Why Small Churches Stay Small (Part 2)

10 Reasons Why Small Churches Stay Small (Part 2)

8. Lousy fellowship.

This overlaps with the last point, but it deserves a spot by itself.

For my money, the best thing a church has to offer individuals and families in the community–other than the saving gospel itself–is a place they will be loved and welcomed and made part of an active, healthy family. It’s what we mean by “fellowship.”

There are ways to tell if the fellowship in your church is unhealthy. Here is a brief rundown.

First, regarding the visitors to your church, your the fellowship is unhealthy if:

a. Visitors are basically ignored.
b. In some places in the church, visitors are even resented.
c. No one follows up on visitors to let them know they are wanted and give information on the church.
d. There’s no attempt to get people to visit your church in the first place.

Second, regarding the worship services of the church, the fellowship is probably unhealthy if:

a. Everything is orderly, but it’s the same order you’ve used since forever.
b. The singing is lifeless and any departure from the norm is verboten. A new hymn or chorus, a different kind of musical instrument, a testimony here, an interview there, a short drama or video–no, sir. Not in our church.
c. There’s no laughter, nothing spontaneous.
d. The invitation time is tacked on, lifeless, and without any response, ever.
e. The prayers are filled with platitudes and stale.

When the Old Testament prophets called on God’s people to “break up the fallow ground”–Hosea 10:12 and Jeremiah 4:3–they wanted to see evidence of brokenness, a willingness to change, a desire to bear new fruit.

Fallow ground is soil that has laid unproductive for several seasons. The hard crust requires a deep turning plow to open it up and even then, the soil may require more preparatory work before it is productive.

A church with poor fellowship or essentially none is not failing to have enough socials and dinners. The church is failing in the most basic of areas of disciples: a failure to love.

Jesus said, “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, that you love one another” (John 13:35).

My observation from my own heart and nearly a half-century of ministry is that the disciple who is close to Christ loves the brethren. So a congregation that is unloving toward one another may be said to be far removed from the Lord and in a backslidden state. It’s a simple deduction.

“Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you!” (James 4:8)