Q. The CAOG seems to go for small churches rather than big ones; is this intentional?
A. We cannot design the Church, or its composition or structure. The Lord Jesus alone builds His Church, and each individual Fellowship, as it pleases Him – Matt 16:18, 1 Cor 12:18.
We are not persuaded that the Mega-Church path is the way we should, or could take. While not making a doctrine out of this, we see wisdom in the Lord Jesus asking His disciples to make the huge throng in Luke 9 sit down in groups of around 50.
Small Assemblies of God’s people are important and probably vital. They make for:
- Close fellowship and a family atmosphere that easily filters into homes. People are hardly ‘family’ in a large Church.
- The identification, development and application of the ministries God has given to each member of the Body of Christ. Big Churches platform ‘important’ ministries, at the expense of every ministry, and foster a culture of spiritual entertainment.
- Shepherding that is personal, specific and caring, whereas this is not possible in a large community. People, especially those who are shy, are easily lost amongst the multitude and some have told us of having backslidden without anybody noticing. The ailing, physically or spiritually, are often overlooked.
- Eldership Ministries operate effectively in smaller Assemblies as Believers receive personal and constant attention. Accountability is not easily required in huge Churches; where people seem to be attending may be wrongly considered enough.
- Personal differences and conflicts may be sharper in a small Church but God’s grace applied by the Elders provides growth and care. In a larger community these growth opportunities are lost as differences are swept under the carpet
- Ministries of the Word inherent in Christian men easily lay dormant for lack of opportunity and exercise. A small Assembly looks to every Brother to minister and every Sister to support and contribute.
- Gifts of the Holy Spirit, which should be in vital operation through every believer, can obviously not be permitted in huge audiences. The argument that Cell Groups cater for this has proved wrong as it is common knowledge that Tongues, Interpretation and Prophecy tend to fall into disuse in the short term and, together with other Spiritual Gifts, become mere memories of a distant past.
Young people often long for the hype of large crowds. That’s a part of immaturity. However, time comes when men and women become serious about their relationship with God and the Body of Christ. It is then that they begin to see, and yearn for, their place – and, indeed, their personal service – in the Body!