I just finished The Strategically Small Church. I hope I get the opportunity to work through this book with a local congregation sometime.
O’Brien says the title refers to a change of attitude from “we’re just a small church” to “we’re a strategically small church. This involves leaving behind the theology of scarcity (noticing all the things we don’t have) and embracing a theology of abundance (claiming the strengths that God has blessed us with).
Here are the strengths that most small churches have:
- They can be authentic — unashamed who they are
- They can be nimble — quickly responding to the needs of newcomers and changes in their communities.
- They can equip their members for lay ministry, rather than depending on paid staff.
- They can give young people an intergenerational environment where everyone is mentored and everyone mentors another.
- They can develop new ministers; defining success not in numbers of observers who come to church, but in numbers of leaders the church sends out.
Of course, being small doesn’t make these automatically happen. But churches that will abandon mega-church envy and set out to cultivate these strengths will add much to Christ’s kingdom.