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Posted by on Jan 6, 2010 in strategy | 4 comments

“Worship” is better in smaller churches.

“Worship” is better in smaller churches.

Church is better small . . . right? That’s what we’re talking about this week. Thanks for the folks joining in the conversation through the comments!

I hope I’m not stepping on a landmine here. But the worship “activity” that seem to be stressed as the most important in the new testatment are baptism and communion . . . right? I mean “singing songs” is talked about . . . but baptism and communion seem like they have a special place in the life of a church. Ok . . . go with me . . .

Communion in big churches is an organizational wonder. In a megachurch it’s breath taking. Really. Moving all that bread and Welch’s around to large groups of people is impressive. But have you ever been in one of those services and been amazed at the wonder if the organization rather than focusing on what those elements represent? I have . . . I’ll admit it. There is something really amazing when commuion is shared with a small group of people . . . close to the size that was there when Jesus broke bread with his small clan of followers. It’s almost like it was designed to be that way.

What about Baptism? I’m a sucker for the mass baptism services of large churches. I loved it when Elevation baptised 1044 people in the summer of 2008. There is something breathtaking about those sort experiences. But I still can’t deny the power of a small group of people standing on the shore of some natural body of water and listening to someone they know (as in a friend or family member) talk about why they want to be baptised . . . and then watch it happen. Small is better.

So whadda think? Maybe I’m just cranky. Is worship better in small churches?

4 Comments

  1. You are cranky..lol. Take this a non-glibly and trite as you possibly can..k…ready…

    worship is better when people worship him in spirit and in truth…when He shows up so to speak.

    I get touchy when people include music in a conversation about worship when they are using big a big W worship definition rather than a corporate gathering w definition of worship. I think you refer to both in this post. Small w, or gathering, needs to include all elements taught in scripture at once…or at least needs to be definied in every community as Biblically as possible.

    We big W worship God in everything we do (or should attempt to) and there are some gathering elements (big W) that could be done in small gatherings better, but I believe that the musical element, to be Biblical, needs to be good (see my thoughts here: http://www.cliffcline.com/2009/10/problem-with-music-in-church-worship) something that it rarely is in small gatherings.

    So to answer your question definitively yes and no!!:)

    Anotther harsh way of putting it is that people may worship God in spirit and in truth on a case by case basis when the music is subpar (which can happen in asmall or large gathering), but that doesn’t change that the music is subpar or that Biblcially the leadership is not governing the church towards Biblcail exellence as scripture teaches as it pertains to music. (Ps 33:3)

  2. I agree and disagree.

    Any discussion that pits one form of worship or one church against another misses much of the point of the church being a body. It’s not that one of anything is better – it’s just different. It’s us humans who give it value based on size.

    The Bible refers to the church as a body with each part playing a role. Is it fair for the legs to say to the heart that they are better because they are bigger? No … that’s ridiculous because people can live without legs.

    Big church, small church – one is not better or worse … they are just different. No moral value need be placed on either.

    I also get concerned when people seem to down play the role of corporate singing – and when they build it up to the point that it’s everything. Music is one form of worship – it isn’t better or worse than other forms. Scripture tells us our life should be a living sacrifice of worship to God – this includes communion, baptism, our conversion, our prayer life, our vocation, reading the Bible, singing – everything.

    Musical worship is one pathway to God – a way that a section of the body connects with God (and conversely others don’t) and therefore has its place. A whole book of the bible is dedicated to song afterall, so it should have a place. But likewise, it should not be overstated to the point the music becomes the object of worship.

    What I do agree with is that smaller churches have an intimacy to them – especially in baptism – that allows you to be invested in the people who are taking the step.

    And yes, you are just cranky.

  3. So glad that two of my worship friends commented!

    Thanks for your comments and for putting up with my crankiness!

    Rich

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