I’ve recognized something in recent years. It seems like so many things are getting smaller. I find myself using the phrase “it’s a small world” more an more. People who make products and providing services are finding niche markets where even though they seem to do well, they remain small from the customer’s standpoint.
In the last few years I connected personally with the owners, developers or staff of several products and services I buy. Twitter, the web and email have allowed me to get beyond the product and service and actually talk to someone. For several services, I no longer call support or submit tickets, I just call or email one of the developers. When I have a really cool idea for a product enhancement, I just send my contact in that company an email. One one side, I feel like a big shot. Ha! On the other side, it makes the company feel less corporate and more like real people. I think that this experience is going to make me a more loyal customer in the long run. I’m not just a customer, I’m a fan.
This idea is something we’ve got to understand as churches, especially in the big ones. In large churches it is so easy to make a huge impact because we have lot’s of resources and lots of people. However, becasue we’re so big, the back door is wide open because people feel disconnected and too much like a number. I think that leaders in big churches need to constantly be thinking how we can provide a “smaller” experience. This helps people feel like they know people and getting things done or talking to the right person is an easy thing to do. Several years ago at a conference I heard a convicting statement. Typically staff and pastors dream of more people and building mega churches, but the people who attend your church are perfectly happy and may even desire being in a small church. It comes with the experience. We need to be intentional about creating small spaces in our big ministries.
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This is a helpful and important post in several respects. I appreciate the following especially: Leaders being accessible and open to feedback; Leveraging small spaces or experiences in order to foster connection; Recognizing that the lack of these props open the backdoor through which people exit our worshipping communities, often unnoticed.
I would be curious to know how your church is specifically addressing this. In my church we are doing some things which seem to be bearing early fruit, but which also have had some consequences on the front end of outreach. I look forward to learning more.
YES! While growth is obviously our mission in churches, so is discipleship. I firmly believe that discipleship is best done as a community which is why I believe so strongly in the power of a small church to make a big impact. (I also believe in the power
The goal will always be to win people and keep them. How we do that is by establishing authentic community.