Outreach Magazine Articles (2010-2012; 2015-Present)

Not Too Small to Plant

Mark DeYmaz - Sunday, July 12, 2015

For nearly 50 years, the American church has measured success by numbers, dollars and buildings. Like it or not, pastors know this to be true. Questions that begin with the words, “How many?” and “How big?” are ones we commonly face, must answer or otherwise discuss on a daily basis. Younger, less established or new-to-ministry pastors are the ones most likely to feel a pressure to perform in this regard. Similarly, pastors of smaller churches bear the burden of subtle prompts that often—though unintentionally—suggest their ministries are not as significant, noteworthy or instructive as ministries of those leading larger churches; that is, pastors who are most likely to be invited onto the main stage, to write a book or to address their denomination at the annual meeting.

But think about it: If large numbers are truly the measure of success, Jesus was a horrible failure. Sure, he did a few big events; but on a good day, he had, what? about 70 folks in attendance?

I learned a long time ago, numbers say something—they don’t say everything. In fact, for all the talk of launching big and growing even faster, I’ve come to realize that explosive growth more often than not leads to internal focus. This is why the very ones who Jesus looked in the eye and said, “Go … ” never went. That’s right. Peter, James and John, along with the rest of the apostles, stayed in Jerusalem. Why? Look, if 3,000 people came to Christ and joined my church tomorrow, our staff would be freaking out, “We don’t have enough parking! We don’t have enough nursery space! We need more bathrooms!”

As a pastor, your value to the kingdom and community is not tied to the size of Sunday morning attendance. Nor is Sunday morning attendance the definitive size of your church. For instance, when answering the question of size, can I count the additional 1,400 people each month (350 a week) that attend our church on Tuesdays to receive three to four full days of meals a month? In other words, it’s not homogenous size on Sunday but breadth of community impact in a diverse community and kingdom influence throughout the rest of the week that is, in my view, a more significant measure of a local church’s success.

My friend, Scott Venable, is the founding pastor of New City Church, a small multiethnic and economically diverse church in Chicago. Just four years old, and averaging 60 people on Sundays, New City has already planted eight churches.

Here’s what Scott told me recently in discussing size versus significance:

Scott Venable’s Perspective …

“Jesus called the local church to advance his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Pursuit of this calling is not dependent on size or resources. We started New City with just two people, but we didn’t wait to engage our community or to plant other churches; we got on it right away. In the kingdom, what determines impact is not the size of a church but its determination to multiply.

“Early on, then, we adopted a neighborhood school to serve. We also began taking trips to the Middle East. By doing this, we established a concern for our city and a heart for the world at the core of our DNA.

“Through our involvement with the school, we started a Friday night program to help keep inner-city youth off of the streets. Soon, 60 to 70 young people, almost 100 percent African-American, were attending this program before we ever launched a Sunday gathering. When we did start on Sundays, the church was also predominantly African-American. I couldn’t have planned this: a white man moving from Texas into a gentrifying neighborhood in Chicago, planting and now pastoring a predominantly black church.

“Engage your community and God will establish a church that reflects his kingdom. Since his kingdom is multiethnic, so is our church.

“Also, from day one we developed a leadership training and releasing program. We prayed for God to raise church planters up so that we could send them out. In four years, we’ve planted churches in Chicago, Texas, New York, Ohio and India.

“When we get to heaven, I don’t think Jesus will ask, “How big was your church?” Instead, he will show us how big, broad and beautiful his kingdom is. This is why, though small in number, we engage our diverse community. This is why we expand the breadth of our influence through church planting. This is why I believe that every church, no matter its size, has been called and can advance his kingdom.”


BLAKE SHELTON tours 2017 commented on 26-Jun-2017 04:35 AM
I'm really enjoying the theme/design of your blog. Do you
ever run into any browser compatibility issues?
A handful of my blog audience have complained
about my site not working correctly in Explorer
but looks great in Safari. Do you have any ideas to help fix this issue?
Melisa Bubash commented on 05-Aug-2017 10:04 PM
Interesting. That's a great post. Keep up the good work.
Packers and Movers in Boriwali commented on 27-Aug-2017 03:10 AM
Im curious about how much it costs to start websites such as Facebook or Twitter. I have been thinking about starting a website for a while now, but i feel as though the initial prices that website design firms give you are for a very low tech and sparsely populated website..
Carri04 commented on 26-Oct-2017 06:48 AM
I think your website needs some fresh posts. Writing manually takes a lot of time, but there is tool for this time consuming task, search
for: Ssundee advices unlimited content for any blog
health law commented on 14-Jan-2018 10:04 PM
We are all seeking information on how to ddrop weight, live
longer and eat healthier. When she gets older, she will have to
add a watch gel aand a firming cream to her list of beauty
products. More importantly, the volume of junk food and delivery
mels forming the diet plan of households with both
working parents continues to be another outlined reason for such obesity.
best interior designer in noida commented on 21-Feb-2018 12:22 AM
Very quіckly this web paցe will be famouѕ ɑmid all Ƅⅼogging and site-building users,
due to it's good posts
Keto Ultra Diet Reviews commented on 18-May-2018 10:13 PM
Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!

It is the little changes that will make the most significant changes.
Thanks for sharing!
Arctic Blast Pain Relief Ingredients commented on 22-Jun-2018 02:49 AM
Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I
was curious about your situation; we have created some nice practices
and we are looking to swap techniques with others, why not shoot me
an email if interested. https://wiki.oti-studios.com/mw/index.php?title=Healthy_Living_Tips_From_Chris_Scott

Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Coaching Pastors & Planters

Building a healthy multiethnic church? You can't do it alone! Our dedicated, experienced and competent team of coaches will help you work smart, avoid mistakes, and gain competence.

Learn More

Diverse Staff Search & Placement

Are you a pastor looking to diversify your staff team? Are you interested in working in a multiethnic church? Through our affordable process, we'll help you find the perfect match!

Learn More

Leadership Cohorts & Learning Labs

Get up-close practical training by visiting healthy multiethnic churches throughout the country, and learning from proven pastors and leadership teams. Join others in a year-long cohort, or bring your team to a three-day lab intensive.

Learn More

Small Group Study & Workbook

Multiethnic Conversations is a proven resource that facilitates open, authentic conversation, and brings diverse people together to walk and worship as one in Christ and in the church.

Learn More