That question

Posted: Thu. Jun, 20 2019

I meet someone for the first time.  They want to know what I do. I tell them I’m a pastor.

 Then they almost always ask the same question.  Even Christians ask it.

 Do you know what the question is?  Of course you do!


 “How big is your church?”

It’s annoying.    But I get it.


Bigger is better.

 That’s the American way.  A 5,000 square foot house is automatically better than a 2,000 square foot home.

Forget a small order of fries. Who gets that anymore?  Medium is pretty lame too.  And why get a large when you can… “SUPERSIZE” your fries!

Who has the most Twitter followers?  I mean, after all, clearly a celebrity with a million followers is a much better person than someone with, say, 500.

Bigger is better. Go big or go home.

I’m going home.


 Is  bigger really always better? 

When you want a romantic dinner, do you pick the restaurant that seats the most people?

Is a classroom with 50 students better than a classroom with 15 students?

Would you rather be at a party of 1,000 people who don’t know you, or a party with 25 of your closest friends?

Would you rather have 50 acquaintances who run away at the first sign of trouble, or one friend who sticks by your side no matter what?

A church isn’t like a political party or a fan base.

I would rather have 5 people in the church  who are growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord than 10,000 who aren’t.


God’s not impressed with numbers.

If you were going to war, you would you rather have 135,000 soldiers or  32,000 soldiers? 135,000 of course.

God didn’t think so.

In fact, He thought that 32,000 was FAR TOO MANY!!

In Judges 7, Gideon had 32,000 men of Israel with him. The Lord said that was too many.

He planned to give their enemy Midian, 135,000 strong, into their hands.    But with 32,000 of them, they might think that their own power had delivered them from the Midianites.

So the Lord had Gideon announce that anyone who was afraid and trembling should go home.    22,000 went home. That left 10,000 soldiers.

But the Lord thought that was still too many!

So He had Gideon bring the men down to the water to get a  drink. Whoever knelt down to drink was dismissed; whoever lapped with his tongue was kept. Only 300 lapped the water.

Then the Lord was satisfied. He would deliver Gideon with the 300 and give the Midianites into their hands.

And so He did.  300 routed 135,000.

God was after the quality of men, not the quantity.

Among all the churches that Paul founded, which one was the largest?  You can’t answer the question because Paul never mentioned numbers in his letters.  It was unimportant.    What distinguished the churches was their level of maturity.

God never changes.  He operates the same way today.


God cares about quality, not quantity.

So here are some questions that I wish people would ask me about our church:

Is your church gracious or legalistic?

How faithful are the people?

How trustworthy are they?

How patient, kind, and forgiving are they?

Are they united or are there factions?

How much love?  How much joy? How much peace?

How much goodness and self-control?

How prayerful are your people?

Do they put other’s needs before their own?


But I never get asked these questions.

I wish I did. These are the things that really matter about a church.

So I think I’ll keep a copy of these questions with me. That way, when someone asks, “How big is your church?”, I can hand them the list and say:

“Here.  Please ask me one of these questions instead.”


Until the next time, we’re all ….


In His grip,

Pastor John

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