Home Pastors Articles for Pastors The Undeniable, Irresistible Resilience of the Small Church

The Undeniable, Irresistible Resilience of the Small Church

small church

There is an undeniable, irresistible resilience of the small church. Small churches are not better than big churches. Big churches aren’t better than small ones.

The arguments we have about size are silly, dangerous and missing the point.

Everyone has something unique to contribute.

As for small churches, here are some of the most undeniable, irresistible blessings they bring to the body of Christ:

The Unkillable Resilience of the Small Church

Small churches have always been and will always be the most common, most resilient and most adaptable expression of the body of Christ.

Small churches are like the cockroaches of the Christian world.

After whatever cultural nuclear bomb comes along to destroy all other visible expressions of the church, small congregations will scurry out from under the baseboards.

When the money runs out, small churches will find a way to keep going.

When there’s a failure of leadership, small churches will lead themselves.

After denominations topple, small churches will rise up.

The Adaptable Resilience of the Small Church

After what’s old and stale has faded away, small churches will adapt to a new reality.

After what’s cool and new starts feeling cliched and trite, small churches will still matter.

After most of our church buildings, both large and small, are empty, demolished or converted into hipster apartments, small churches will find somewhere else to meet.

After we’ve grown sick of programs and events, small churches will remind us of our essential need for relationship.

After we’ve torn ourselves apart with politically-charged rhetoric, small churches will still be there to bring God’s people together.

After persecution has come, small churches will meet in secret.

After our plans have failed, small churches will still be a big part of God’s plan.


This article on the small church originally appeared here and is used by permission.

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Karl is the author of four books and has been in pastoral ministry for almost 40 years. He is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a healthy small church in Orange County, California, where he has ministered for over 27 years with his wife, Shelley. Karl’s heart is to help pastors of small churches find the resources to lead well and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a small church. Karl produces resources for Helping Small Churches Thrive at KarlVaters.com, and has created S.P.A.R.K. Online (Small-Church Pastors Adapt & Recover Kit), which is updated regularly with new resources to help small churches deal with issues related to the COVID-19 crisis and aftermath.