Monday, July 24, 2006

Your local church didn't make "THE List?" Oh, my...

Maybe it is OK, afterall.


At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Friedeman,

I read your article about the "Top Churches" with great interest. My church (South Main Street Church in Manchester, New Hampshire) is one of those small, but very alive, churches. When my husband and I started to attend this church back some 7 years ago, the first thing that struck us when we walked through the door was how warm and friendly it was, albeit small. We were homeless and had been cast aside by our old church, and we were desparate for Christian fellowship.

In these last few years our little church has weathered the retirement of our long-term pastor (15 years!!!), a change in membership, and various other changes. The one constant has been: just about everyone who comes in feels the love, warmth and "alive-ness" of our church. When our beloved Pastor Manning retired, we contemplated merging our little church with another. A number of visiting pastors advised us NOT!!! Well, we now have a new pastor and are even more active than ever.

I am very proud of our little church, am proud to bring our two little girls (ages 3 and 1, and the results of the prayer power of our Prayer Warriors and our Lord & Savior), and would not dream of leaving it for one of those "mega-churches".

I apologize for this rather rambling note. I just wanted to let you know that at least one person agrees with your assessment.

In Christ,
Manchester, New Hampshire
proud member of South Main Street Church

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Friedeman,

I read your article and was a bit disappointed with your generalizations about large churches on the "top 50" list. You made it sound as if having a large budget and being able to present great speakers is a bad thing. I definitely disagree.
I happen to attend one of the churches that is new to the list. I have been attending the same church for 25 years and can assure you that God is doing wonderful things there.
The foundation of who I am today was carefully cultivated and shaped at my church. Those high profile speakers my church hosted over the years have broadened my view of the Bible and of the world. My pastor is one of the wisest men I have ever met. He's funny and kind, too.
Our large budget (which grows each year because our members are such faithful givers) gave us the opportunity to host a Vacation Bible School program for 1600 children in our community last month. We gave each child T-shirts, books, crafts and snacks for an entire week and didn't charge them a thing.
We have the ability to provide discounted or free housing, schooling, and even child care for many of the people in our community who need help.
A few years ago, our church spent several million dollars helping to restore a neighborhood near us that was completely destroyed by fire. We were able to evangelize and meet needs that would otherwise have gone unmet for months, perhaps years. If that is not a sign of a healthy church, I don't know what is.
Before you assume that all large churches are filled with uncommitted, cookie-cutter people who just go for the status... please do yourself a favor and check some of them out. they really are great places to serve and to belong.

Holly Hanson
Proud member of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Ca

At 9:35 AM, Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Evangelism is defined as a starving man telling another starving man where to find bread.

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a church planter in the inner-city of the small city of Roanoke,VA , your article ministered to me and encouraged me. I was sent out from Trinity Life Church in Lawrenceville,GA to plant here in Roanoke and Trinity Life was only 3 1/2 yrs old with around 200 consistant members. They are now sending another church planter out to plant a church within 10 miles of their current location. It is a blessing and inspiration to be an active part of the Body of Christ and see God moving in the lives of His people and surrounding community. I was breifly a member of a church in Atlanta that boasted 20,000+ members but there was no accountablilty and some days it felt like i was in a night club with all of the singles gawking @ each other. I read somewhere that 600-700 is considered the "sweet-spot" when it comes to membership. Pray for us as we plan to send a church planter out within 2 yrs even though we are very small in number.

Matthew S. Murphy
Pastor, All Nations METRO Church
Roanoke, VA

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timely and much-needed insight. Our family was caught up in the "Mega-Church" movement and didn't even realize it. We were fed subtle insinuations Sunday after Sunday that growth=good and if your church was small, it was probably . Sometimes, growth just means more bodies and full parking lots! We experienced the lost quality with large quantity - especially when our eldest daughter entered the middle school youth group, yikes! Discipleship is being sacrificed at the altar of big baptism numbers. Let's get back to growing strong belivers who know what accountability is and just let the numbers fall where they may. By God's loving grace, we are now searching for not necessarily a small church, but a church that elevates teaching the whole counsel of scripture, verse by verse and as a result grows strong members who are better equipped to evangelize.

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous budelliott said...

Your column brought back some old memories. Around 1980 the seminary from which I had graduated sponsored a "Small Church Workshop" with the stated purpose of assisting pastors of small churches to develop new insights, strategies, etc. Without exception, everyone of the resource people and workshop leaders were from . . . . large churches (who woulda thunk it!)
Needless to say, a pastor of a 2,500 member church from a large metro area had little of benefit to contribute to the pastors from small rural churches.


Post a Comment

<< Home