SEVEN REASONS WHY I LOVE A BIG CHURCH!
Moncton Wesleyan Church has become a large Church. And, thanks to the sovereign blessings of the Lord, it is continuing to grow. From a congregation of 180 in 1969, our attendance is now regularly over 1, 400. While we rejoice over the way the Lord has blessed this fellowship, some who are not familiar with a large church are frightened by it. There is a common misconception that a big church is cold and formal or that a church of this size will neglect its people and compromise its principles. There are dangers and concerns that are unique to a large congregation, just as there are dangers and concerns to a smaller church. But, there are many advantages about a big church that make it special.
Before I share some of the reasons why I love a large church, let me hasten to say that there’s nothing beneficial about being large just for the sake of being large. Any church, large or small, is only worth its salt if people are being introduced to the Saviour and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s the bottom line. Having said that, let me highlight some reasons why I love a large church:
1. A LARGE CHURCH IS SCRIPTURAL.
The first church began with 3,000 members (Acts 2:41) and grew everyday, until the number of men came to about 5,000 (Acts 4:4). These people met in homes, but they also MET TOGETHER in the temple courts (Acts 2:46). When the church was alive, it grew rapidly. “So the word of God spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7).
JESUS INTENDED THAT HIS CHURCH GROW.
“He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches”. (Matthew 13:31 & 32).
We believe that when the Lord’s hand is on His church, it will grow (Acts 11:21). That growth will vary according to the size of the community and the receptivity of the people, but the church was meant to be an expanding body. In 1969, this was one of the smallest churches in Moncton. Today, it is the largest Protestant church in the Maritimes.
2. A LARGE CHURCH CAN PROVIDE RICH FELLOWSHIP.
Although the first church began with 3,000 members, they continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship (Acts 2:42). They came to know and appreciate one another. In a large church, that fellowship is provided through many small group opportunities. There are a number of such opportunities here at Moncton Wesleyan Church: from Alpha to Women’s and Men’s groups and sports-related activities. Our “Life Groups” range in size from 5 to 150 and most have their own social times and other opportunities for interaction. Whether the group is small or large, there is always a focus on building relationships with each other and learning more about our relationship with God. It is an exciting challenge!
3. A LARGE CHURCH PROVIDES AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FOR EVANGELISM.
In many respects it is much easier to invite others to come to church with you, if the church is large. There are so many special services and quality programs that provide opportunities for Christians to invite friends and family members, too. And those who generally do not attend church are much more likely to attend a large church. They often feel less threatened in a large group. They know they can remain anonymous for awhile, if they so desire. The non-Christian will often come and observe just out of curiosity. Slowly, they begin to feel comfortable and the truths of the gospel begin to sink in. Often times that’s where the seed takes root and begins to grow and eventually produces a positive harvest.
Throughout the fellowship of Moncton Wesleyan are scores of people who can personally bear witness to this!
4. A LARGE CHURCH PROVIDES MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE.
Some people mistakenly assume that they are not needed in a larger fellowship. That is far from the truth. A large church has so many more opportunities to serve, because there are so many more responsible positions to fill. For example, it takes over 400 volunteers every week to provide the best worship and study experience for our people! We require over 60 volunteers just to work in our nursery, in order to provide secure and effective care and ministry to these little ones. Piano players, song leaders, Sunday School teachers, craft workers, helpers, etc. are all needed each Lord’s day. THAT IS JUST ONE DEPARTMENT! Whatever God has gifted you to do, there will be an opportunity for your abilities to be used in edifying the body of Christ here at Moncton Wesleyan Church. As you tour our facility and observe the various ministries taking place not only on Sunday, but throughout the week, you’ll see men and women busy in a variety of different ways. These people may be business executives, homemakers, lawyers, school teachers, and so forth, who are volunteering their time to see that the Lord’s work is in order. As the old hymn says, “There is a place for every worker in the vineyard of the Lord”.
5. A LARGE CHURCH IS INSPIRATIONAL.
Most of us enjoy going to athletic contests when there is a “packed house”. There is something about a large number of people that creates excitement and generates energy. Jesus said He wanted His “house to be full” (Luke 14:23). It is inspirational to sing and share with hundreds and hundreds of other Christians. It is thrilling to hear a large choir or to enjoy an excellent drama. It is stirring to see several dozen grade school children participate in a musical or dozens of teenagers gather together for Bible Study.
Teenagers especially love being a part of a large group where they can meet other young people their age and be surrounded by positive peer pressure! Sometimes the compromising evils of this world appear overwhelming. It is inspirational to be a part of a large group that reminds us that we are not alone in the world.
6. A LARGE CHURCH HAS POSITIVE INFLUENCE.
There is strength in numbers. A large church has an opportunity to witness to and influence our community in a very positive way. We have the privilege of hearing some of the finest Christian speakers, musicians and Bible teachers available. We can also have a positive influence in missions and world evangelism. Our size enables us to provide meaningful support ministries to singles, widows and others who need special attention.
7. A LARGE CHURCH PREPARES US FOR HEAVEN.
In Revelation 7:9, the Apostle John described his vision of heaven this way: “I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne…wearing white robes.” There are going to be multitudes of people in heaven! We’ll be delighted with each other! We anticipate hearing a large heavenly choir and being inspired when we participate with millions who honour the Lord with praise and worship. It is going to be a large body of believers who will glorify God in heaven.
The large church is nothing new. The church in Jerusalem quickly grew from the few in the upper room to 3,000. In 323 A.D. the church building in Constantinople was large enough to hold 15,000 at a single service. That church had 60 pastors and 25 music directors. In 1861, Charles Spurgeon’s church in London seated 6,000. Today, a Methodist Pentecostal Church in Santiago, Chile, has over 50,000 members! A Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea, now has 500,000 members! There are 150 churches in North America that exceed 2,000 in worship and 60 that average over 3,000.
The large church has been used by God to evangelize the lost, edify the saved, minister to the needy and be the conscience of the community. We invite you to join with us as we seek to glorify God’s name in a big way!