How Small Church Thinking Holds Big Churches Back

Originally written for

“We’ve had significant growth but we still think like a small church.”

I’ve heard that sentiment many times from leaders. In each instance, it pointed to a common challenge that comes with church growth:

We often lead from our past experience more than our current circumstance.

In many cases, this is valuable. But when your current experience is different (and larger) than your past, your past thinking can quickly become a barrier. To lead at a higher level, we must think in a different way. Here are 10 ways your team may still be thinking like a small church:

1) Every individual should speak into every decision.

When you were smaller, it wasn’t an issue to get everyone in the same room. Today, that’s not possible. Place those with the right gifts over each ministry area. Trust them to get the input they need to make good decisions.

2) Every decision must flow from or through the senior pastor.

This worked fine when decisions were less frequent. Now, every decision must still fit the vision set by the senior pastor. But that vision should clear enough that team members can easily recognize what does and does not fit.

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Ryan Stigile