Big is beautiful...so we are told! If a town or a church or an organization is small it is probably of little consequence or significance...so we are told! You see in the 21st Century, it seems that you have to be big if you want to be reckoned with. Big is bold, significant, effective, influential and powerful...so we are told!
Now before you think I am knocking big organizations or big churches hear me out, please. I am a great admirer of leaders who can gather thousands of people to their communities each week. It takes immense skill, gifting, and leadership to grow any community to thousands of people. I do think big churches and organizations can wield influence and power and they can bless their cities and beyond because of their size. I am keen to learn all that I can from these gifted people.
But because something is small does not mean it is insignificant or inconsequential or lacks the ability to influence.
I live in a small state, in a tiny town, and by American standards, Paul and I lead a relatively small College. Please don't think I am being defensive because of where we find ourselves. I am not! I love big, but I also love small!
I have learned to appreciate this beautiful state of North Dakota. Yes, it is small, but of all the places I have ever lived, I have never met kinder, more generous or more humble people than Dakotans. I love this open space and the quiet stillness that surrounds us. I am able to think, I can breathe deeply, and I can appreciate the beauty of my Creator and His magnificent world.
I often meet leaders who lead small churches and some of them feel inferior to those who lead large and prosperous churches. Now let me get one thing straight. I detest laziness. If a leader has a tiny congregation because they sit at home doing nothing...shame on them. That kind of small is insignificant, ineffective and inconsequential. But if the leader leads a healthy, vibrant, small community, and they are putting their heart and soul into God's work, then I think they can be as influential as any large church and perhaps even more so.
I get tired of having 'big' shoved in my face at Conferences and Seminars and Leadership Events. Big is not everything! I have lived long enough to see leaders who led large churches fall off their pedestals and exit ministry. There are times I want tohear and be exposed to the stories of the incredible, gifted, significant, effective leaders leading small churches and organizations. Why do I never hear their voices?
Yes, I do want to learn from the leaders who have succeeded and built great organizations and churches, but don't silence the voice of the heroes who have heard God's call and their task is to lead smaller communities where they too are succeeding in their task.
Why on earth did God choose a tiny, insignificant town like Nazareth for Jesus to be nurtured in? Why did God not send the greatest preacher of all times to the big, bustling, vibrant city of Jerusalem? I ask myself why God sent John the Baptist to the desert and why Jesus was not raised in a great city of influence.
Perhaps it is because God often uses insignificant, isolated places and people of humble birth to make the greatest impact on His world. Yes, great can come out of small. Significance can come from nowhere and God loves to take nobody's and make them influential.
Please don't despise small. I love big, but I also love small. God uses both!
If you are a leader leading a small community, in an insignificant town, with few resources, hold your head high you are still God's chosen and anointed servant. You may never know the impact of your ministry, but if you are obedient and faithful I can guarantee you that greatness surrounds you and God is with you.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,