Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Strategically Small Church (Book Review)

From the back cover:

Our culture's infatuation with bigness--bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger businesses--has infiltrated the church. But smaller doesn't equal second-rate.  [In The Strategically Small Church,] Leadership Journal editor and former pastor Brandon O'Brien shows how small churches are uniquely equipped for success in today's culture. O'Brien celebrates churches that are taking full advantage of their small size and analyzes how other churches can learn from their strategies.
My take:

The subtitle of The Strategically Small Church: Intimate, Nimble, Authentic, Effective reveals why the author believes that small churches are uniquely equipped to fulfill the Great Commission.  He begins by challenging church leaders to reconsider the idea that church growth defines ministry success.  He goes on to elaborate on the strategic advantages of small churches, as well as ways to maximize those advantages.  Some of these tactics are "outside the box"--for example, a focus on building intergenerational relationships rather than offering only age-specific programs.

I especially liked the chapter called "The Work of the People: The Equipping Church."  Here O'Brien speaks of equipping people to serve where they are; of allowing ministry to develop organically rather than programming it; and of using a high-accountability/low-control model.  He quotes a pastor who says, "It's exciting to watch how enthusiasm spreads through a congregation when people begin to catch a vision for what one person can do when they minister from their gifts."

One key point is that applying these principles requires a shift of perspective.  Here's what O'Brien says:
It is very easy to believe that our primary objective as church leaders is to grow a religious institution--to add members and enlarge our sphere of influence.  If we understand our jobs in this way, mission becomes a means of church growth. ... [But] mission is not a means of growing the church; mission is the church's purpose and goal.  Equipping people to serve where they are--out of their gifting and passion--is a great way to advance the mission of God.
Because I am not a church leader, I am not in the target audience for The Strategically Small Church.  Even so, I found it thought-provoking and enjoyable to read.

Links for more information:

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes. However, I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions in this post are my own. This post contains an affiliate link: if you click through my Amazon.com link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Thank you!


  1. "these tactics are "outside the box"--for example, a focus on building intergenerational relationships rather than offering only age-specific programs."

    I wish more churches would consider this rather than segregating everyone.

  2. Yes, yes, yes - that is just how we see it. I think their is a "place" for larger churches but I really believe it is the smaller churches that get things done and are more spiritually grounded. Fabulous book!

  3. We have attended small, medium, and large Churches and much prefer smaller churches! We were involved in several lovely intergenerational ministries that a joy to be a part of!

    We are struggling to find a place in the large church that we are currently attending. The sad/funny thing is that the church works to segregate children from parents at birth and then they have a Bible study for parents of teens "teaching them how to connect with their teens" while the teenagers are being taught in a separate building. Hello? Let us keep our kids and don't teach us to ditch them and then you won't have to teach us how to reconnect with them 16 years later! Quietly stepping off my soapbox now...

  4. I could have sworn I commented on this one.

    I always love your comments about the book they are so honest. Sounds like a good book even if not the target audience. :)


I love to hear what you're thinking, so thank you for leaving a comment!

Spammers are unwelcome here, and spam comments will be deleted.