Recently I read a blog article by Ralph Moore about the church culture in Sri Lanka. I feel Ralph, who lives with his wife Ruby in San Diego, has something to say to the western church considering that 2317 churches could name Ralph's church and ministry as the catalyst for their church plants (according to a survey in 2016 by Ralph's team - by the time the survey was published another 5 more churches had been planted.) This is multiplication that is unheard of in Western Nations in our generation!
Before sharing the link to the article, please allow me to clarify a few things. Ralph talks about micro churches, which is fine and I understand the term, yet for me, it’s not about micro and let me throw this term into the discussion, house church.
Let me explain. Churches should be large, medium or small. Different sizes and styles. It’s always both and, never either or. But in our western culture, the expectation in many conferences, movements and denominations, (many times unspoken) is bigger… and that bigger is better. The focus or the underlying belief is we should be aiming for larger churches with buildings, highly trained staff, stage, lights and high-level communicators. I applaud that, and was highly motivated in that way myself for many years; but it’s only one small part of the story and for me, this is not multiplication. In fact, I believe the focus on the larger or bigger, deters and blocks us from multiplying. It also puts ministry in the hands of a few very gifted people, instead of the many.
All I’m saying is, let’s NOT define church by its size or by where it meets. Church is church is church. Please understand my context is predominantly Western Europe. If we are really serious about reaching Europe or other western nations, we need to multiply.
Make no mistake, I am focusing on multiplication. Small is the new big. Small things multiply. This takes less finances, leadership skill and capacity. Leaders don’t need to be paid or degreed (discipled yes…that’s very different). Leaders don’t have to manage buildings, large budgets or staff. We don’t need to necessarily hire or buy buildings for churches to function well. I do wonder if we have complicated Christianity and church in the West? (I could say much more about how stressed and depressed many Christian leaders are – see Leadershipworx blog The State of Pastors from June 26th 2018).
Secondly, there simply aren’t enough leaders to carry the weight of medium or large size churches, particularly in Europe. Hence small churches are much more doable. Please don’t hear me say I’m not for the medium or large church, I love and applaud them all, in fact, we need them. It’s when we say large is THE ONLY model that I have an issue with. As I listen to leadership speakers, discussions and conversations it seems it’s all heading only one way … larger is better. What about thinking of larger in a different way?
Thirdly, isn’t the message of Jesus and doesn’t the church exist to bring people into His Kingdom? That’s our first priority.
I wonder if we should take our models of the church from China, India, some parts of Africa and Sri Lanka. After all, they are having a continuous move of God in some of their nations...
Anyway, have a prayerful read of the inspiring and challenging article below.
Used by permission from www.ralphmoore.net
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