How big is your church?

Tomorrow morning my family and I will gather together with about 75 other people to worship God. To some, a congregation of 75 is unthinkably small. To others, perhaps it is enviably large. And, interestingly, many American churchgoers would feel right at home, 75 being the national median of worship attendance.*

But something else is going on. Even that first paragraph reveals a small-faith, provincial thinking about the church.

If my family and I have eyes of faith to see it, we will gather tomorrow with the saints around the world. We will join our voices to all those who worship God in Spirit and in truth. Tomorrow, my church will baptize thousands and preach the gospel to millions more. Tomorrow, my church (of which our local body is barely a sliver of a pinky nail) will meet together with God and raise our voices in such a shout that it will seem as a wall of thunder and water in the gates of heaven. Tomorrow we will together release our battering rams against the gates of hell.

So: how big is your church?

 

Edit: It was helpfully pointed out that I misused the statistics somewhat. Here’s the scoop: the average (mean) church in America has attendance of 75. But the average churchgoer in America worships alongside 300-400 people on Sunday. This article helps explain what my statistically limited brain cannot. Please excuse my mix-up.

4 Comments

  1. Tiffini October 23, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    I’m sorry, I know you don’t know me, but this really made me smile because our service was just talking about this last week, and the class youth class I teach is currently talking about “the body of Christ” being every Christian, everywhere. It was really nice to see similar thinking going on! When we’re able to put aside the things that separate one denomination from another, we still all share fundamental beliefs: 1) Christ lived and was who He said He was, 2) He died and rose again and 3) He will be back. I attend a church that has 2,000 members; about 1000 attend each week—way bigger than 75. It can seem daunting at first; but, once you throw yourself in, you realize that we’re all just trying to live “otherly”, as my pastor puts it: we’re all just trying to do the best we can. Each week, we recite the Apostle’s Creed and, when we do that, we remember that it doesn’t matter how big or how small our congregation is—what matters is that we’re joining with Christians everywhere to worship and praise the same God. Have a blessed day tomorrow! 🙂

    • Jared Olivetti October 23, 2011 at 5:36 am #

      Hi Tiffini, thanks for your note. It’s always great to hear from someone new. Your note makes a great point about the creeds of the church. Of course there are important differences in churches’ doctrine and practice, but a good use of the creeds (we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday night) keeps the focus on the essentials and should open greater doors to the realization of our unity. Have a great Sunday!

  2. Grace Reformed Church (independent) Philippines October 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Our church (house church) is very small that only composed of 4 families. We are only reformed believers in our place and still independent.

  3. stillbelievin October 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    This is something I think about only occasionally, so thank you for the reminder!

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