If you lead a small church, and haven’t been to one of the websites that support / value small church vitality, you’re missing valuable insights and encouragement.

One such site is the Energizing Smaller Churches Network (ESCN).  They quote a Barna Research report that the typical church in America has an average worship attendance of eighty-nine adults, and that a full 60 percent of Protestant churches in our country are attended by one hundred or fewer adults in worship.

A hundred may not seem like a lot, but considering the strength of the house church movement, where congregations rarely exceed 30, that’s huge.  Even in the 2500-member church my family attends, ministry rarely happens in groups much larger than 40 or 50.  Discipleship is broken into groups of a dozen or less.  (There were 15 in prayer meeting last week.)

Hear the encouragement of ESCN:  “every church in every community in a strategic position. By virtue of its purpose and location, each church in each community is uniquely qualified to influence those closest to it for Christ.”

The church I used to serve at in Massachusetts is land-limited to a couple hundred attendees.  The youth groups runs a couple dozen.  Yet they were named one of the best in the country, and the youth pastor told me they found they were effectively penetrating the High School and ministering to around 200 students.  Similarly, the summer camp for 5-12 year olds maxes out each year at over 100, influencing the community for Christ, even though only a fraction are members of the church.  (That camp has drawn in some community residents to become strong leaders, and many children have been saved over the years.)

Helping smaller churches achieve this goal is the purpose of the ESCN.  I recommend it to you.