Reproduction, innovation and collaboration help smaller churches thrive
The future looks bright for the 90 percent of all congregations nationwide that have fewer than 300 attendees each week. Reproduction, innovation and collaboration are creating new
paradigms for smaller churches, resulting in big kingdom impacts in their communities and beyond.
Planting new, smaller churches often produces a greater evangelistic emphasis than relying on established churches. Statistics show that the best evangelistic return occurs in the first four years of the life of a church—before an inward focus tends to set in, says Billy Hornsby, president of the Association of Related Churches, which provides training, assessment, resources, funding and mentors for church planters.
Building authentic, loving relationships also is a strength of smaller churches. The multisite-church innovation has combined the benefit of relational intimacy in smaller churches with the advantages larger churches offer, such as resources, administration and leadership.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” says multisite specialist Jim Tomberlin, founder and president of Third Quarter Consulting.
Across America, smaller congregation are becoming models of innovation and effective ministry.
Smaller churches also are finding that by working together with other congregations, they can accomplish more than they can on their own. Networks of churches like Unite! in Atlanta and Compassion Connect in Portland, Ore., are helping churches address issues like poverty, family, justice and education.
Collaboration also is helping smaller churches engage in global missions in a more substantial way. For example, a group of Minnesota churches has worked with World Vision to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Rwanda, sponsoring 600 children, funding AIDS awareness, building schools and much more.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Outreach magazine discusses this subject in depth in “The NEW Small Church,” (July/August 2009).