Small Churches Are the Next Big Thing—With One Condition

But what Millennials mean by quality will also be different than what their parents meant.

Too often, for Boomers, quality has meant excess. Glitz. Over-the-top. Bling. What the New Testament calls adornment.

(Interesting, isn’t it, that a lot of ministries which properly reject the sin of immodesty have no problem with the flip-side sin of adornment? Some even revel in it as evidence of God’s blessing.)

Quality, for a Small Church, can be summed up in one word. Health.

It starts by getting the basics right.

  • Real-world bible teaching
  • Genuine relationships
  • Practical ministry opportunities
  • Clean, safe childcare
  • And yes, competent musicianship on the worship team

The good news is, your church doesn’t have to be big to do any of that. And even if one or two aren’t at the level you’d like, most people are OK with it as long as there’s high quality in the other areas. They may even step in and help where the church is weak.

Do the Millennials Even Care About God?

Here’s what I said about this topic in The Grasshopper Myth:

In They Like Jesus but Not the Church, Dan Kimball relates some of the feelings new generations of non-believers have about Jesus and the church. The main result is reflected in the title, of course, but other findings were interesting too.

One young woman expressed her desire for a church that was smaller and more intimate. As she so beautifully put it, “Make church a book club with soul.” She’s not alone in that longing.

Another unchurched friend of Kimball’s told him, “I think the meetings should be smaller. Every once in a while a big meeting is cool, but not as the norm.”

Yet another asked, “Didn’t Jesus spend most of his time in smaller settings, with smaller groups? … I bet that is where they learned the most from him, not when he was in the masses with larger crowds.”

Some of what younger generations want and need from the church has nothing to do with the style of the worship band. Many of them just don’t like the corporate vibe of a bigger church. What speaks to their heart can only happen in a smaller setting.

– from The Grasshopper Myth: Chapter 8 – Small Church, Big Vision
by Karl Vaters

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Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors