Church Planting is Not Only For ‘Big’ Churches
By Shane Pruitt
(This Article is also posted on the Southern Baptist TEXAN online)
When it comes to church planting and multiplication, there is a common misconception that it’s mainly a “BIG” church activity. However, making disciples and sending people out with the gospel to multiply ourselves is a calling and command for every single church, no matter the size. In the Book of Acts, Luke tells us, “The word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24). How did the word of God increase and multiply in the early church? It increased and multiplied rapidly because churches were reaching people with the gospel, discipling them and sending them out to start new churches. Guess what? Most likely these local churches were only made up of a few dozen of people, not thousands.
Sometimes churches and pastors feel inadequate because of the size of their congregation and are tempted to use their size as an excuse to not to be involved in starting new churches. Our “everything is bigger in the Western-world” mentality can often be a hindrance for local churches who think they’re too small compared to most other churches. However, on a national level, the average church size is between 75-125 people. Interestingly, what is considered by some to be “small” is actually the size of most churches, so they wouldn’t be small at all. They are actually great, normal-sized, New Testament churches with huge potential of kingdom impact.
Praise God for mega-churches, medium-sized churches and what some may consider “small” churches that are multiplying themselves by planting autonomous churches. Wait, there are what some consider “small” churches already planting new works? Absolutely! Here are examples of two pastors and churches that resisted the temptation to view their size as a limitation and helped plant new churches.
Jason Crandall is the pastor of CityView Church in Pearland, TX. CityView was 18 months old, averaging 125 people, when they planted their first autonomous church with 24 people in Alvin, TX. Crandall says that, “Since then, we’ve had our best giving months and our church, CityView Pearland, has grown to average of 144, while also adding 2 more Life Groups. Planting was actually a momentum builder for us. We believe that size doesn’t matter in church planting; faith does.”
Kevin Cox is the pastor of Vista Church in Heartland, TX. Vista is currently averaging 180 on Sunday mornings, and they have been a part of 15 churches being planted across the U.S., Canada and India. They have also just recently started financially supporting two more churches in the last month. In the churches they plant, Vista makes a three-year financial commitment, along with monthly coaching and other resources. Cox says, “Church planting and multiplication is in the DNA of Vista Church. One of our value statements that directly impacts church multiplication is: ‘Size does not determine kingdom impact.’”
Often, as leaders, we have to settle several questions in our hearts because the answers directly affect the way we lead and shepherd the flock that God has entrusted to us. “Do I believe that God can do the extraordinary with the ordinary? Do I really believe that God can use this congregation to make a kingdom impact? Is this church going to be about expanding the kingdom of God or expanding our own little kingdom?”
In the Missions Department, we are currently in the early stages of creating a one-day seminar on strategic and practical ways for smaller churches to be involved in church planting and multiplication. If you’re an associational leader, pastor or leader interested in talking more about this, please contact me here. Also, join me in praying for a church planting explosion in our state, as congregations of all sizes partner together to reach the nations.