I had occasion to use the space of a large church in the area.  It was tedious, to the point of pain.  The bureaucracy added way too much stress on the ministry team and hindered the spread of the Good News.

The startup congregation I’m working with heard that a noted singer in our denomination was to be in the area, and had a few days between performances.  Although we only had 10 weeks to put it together, we decided to try.  But getting a room on a Tuesday night in August was harder than it appeared at first glance.

We normally meet in a church of 2800.  But the adminstration of that size congregation means multiple layers of approvals, some of whom were out of town during key meetings, meaning a delay in channeling the room request to senior leadership.  (A number of other venues we tried either wanted a $400 fee for 4 hours or would not consider us using their space at all.)

At barely one month out, we secured a room, but just as publicity was going out (the minimum lead time for advertising is usually 4 weeks), the host church decided they didn’t want their name on anything that hadn’t gone through the in-house graphic designer.  That approval came out less than a week prior to the concert, changing the background picture and a slight change to the wording.

If we had had our own space, our congregation of 50 could have decided in early June, advertised in July and probably exceeded the 70 that came.

Leaders of small churches can usually meet  more spontaneously, make decisions with less coordination, and respond to needs much more quickly.

Large churches have more resources.  (We wanted a room to hold more than 100 and parking for 50, something not available to a house church!)  They can mobilize for special events.  But small churches can see and respond to needs more quickly.

And ministry is measured in speed to action, not intention to convene a committee.