Is Big Church Bad?

Here is something I’ve noticed: People don’t like big churches.

Yesterday after my post about full churches and empty churches I received a lot of feedback, a lot of it suspicious or critical of big churches. Which I thought was interesting as I hadn’t even mentioned its being big—just its being full.

I completely sympathize with this big church queasiness. I grew up in a church of 150. In college I worshiped with two churches, one about 200 and the other around 15. I thought 200 members was pretty big, and I often felt disconnected.

I prized the kind of community that develops when a small body of believers learns and struggles and celebrates together.

Later in life I moved to a city with this one large church of Christ. And everyone I ever heard talk about it lowered their brow when they did—like something about it was sketchy. But the only criticism I ever actually heard articulated was this: It’s just so big.

Every once in a while I hear people talk about the Round Rock church growing and about how they hope it doesn’t get too big.

I am not critical of this mindset. I get it. I like small church.

But I am concerned that in dismissing bigness we’re disabling the Spirit of God as He works in our churches, asking Him to do just as much as we’re comfortable with. When we shoot for a nice, reasonable 350, I think maybe God gets frustrated.

Anyway, I’m wondering what it is about the big church model that’s bothering so many people? Why is bigger lesser? And then, if smallness is to be sought, what can growing churches do to stay small without limiting the power of God?