Most people don’t have to really think about it because it is obvious that small church culture will be dramatically different than large church culture if for nothing else, money, methods and the masses. The money for large church budgets are largely different that small church ministries, the methods will greatly differ and the masses, well, a 1000 compared to 60. But with that money, method, masses difference there comes a totally different vision and outcome when a person examines the two side by side.
Church is being defined by the culture it emulates, copies and produces. Many large churches have made dramatic changes to adopt to the cultural changes basically among millennials. Mass marketing has now been replaced with target marketing – an intentional hit at those who don’t fit the demographics. Everything from design, to music, to ministry, to platform dress, all has been intricately planned to attract an energetic group of millennial worshippers. While it is very important each church find its uniqueness and fingerprint of their community, the emphasis on “big,” in my opinion, has overhauled some meaningful discussion on doctrine and discipleship.
According to the American Culture and Faith Institute survey, conducted March 2018, 74% of “born again” millennials believe it is morally acceptable for sexual intercourse between unmarried adults. And, of the same group, 66% said, “intentionally looking at pictures or videos that display nudity or explicit sexual behavior” was morally acceptable.
Has our adaption process led to the demise of “born again” behavior? Has the culturally magnetic church promoted grace, mercy and love at the expense of purity, holiness and biblical principles? Without sounding too judgmental isn’t it about time for us to reexamine our discipleship or lack of it? Some said, “We can change the method without changing the message,” but we did change the message. Motivational sermons and self-help series are not giving “seekers” an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and certainly not as Lord of our lives.
We may have to discuss this subject in greater detail later but here is how the small church culture and the large church culture differ:
In many small churches the church is the culture and reflects most people around them. Those with the vision have to ask if Betty is working, has a school function or can find a baby sitter for the major outreach the church is having this summer. Why, because she is the main giver and/or the main volunteer. Large church plants give the thumbs up to a new coordinator, specializing in organizational skills, and the meetup determines who is chosen for each mission.
Small churches continue filling the countryside and are often attracting people from their community. They may not be big but they are mighty. Is cultural change needed? Maybe. But, many are still doing a great job of reaching people for Jesus and doing the work of the Father. Could we all do more? Yes.
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