Big Church v. Small Church

Oh boy. Andy Stanley, my favorite pastor, has really stepped into it. He made some controversial comments in one of his sermons last week.

I heard about the ordeal yesterday during small group. One of the girls told me Andy made an apology at service yesterday. I was like wha?! For what? Well, apparently he said some not-so-nice and in my opinion, not-so-true comments about smaller churches. I didn't believe it so of course, I googled. Here's just some ofthe verbatim...

"When I hear adults say 'well I don't like a big church. I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody.' I say you are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your five friends. You don't care about your kids, anybody else's kids."

You can find the clip online as well. Andy is obviously advocating for big churches. He has many throughout the Atlanta area.  He was talking about how he believes children thrive in larger churches with larger youth groups and more resources. The reaction to his comments has been massive. So big, in fact, that Andy issued an apology via twitter. Something more formal is expected sometime this week.

The whole ordeal got me thinking about my church growing up. It wasn't a mega-church by any stretch (though the building was amazingly gorgeous). Bethesda was super traditional. Hymns, choirs, 2.5+ hour services, communion, formal dress...the whole nine.

My mother dragged my brother, sister and I to Bethesda Christian Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan every Sunday for years. There were no fog machines, worship bands, or multiple-levels of youth groups.

But I found Christ in that church. It was a place where I came to know the Lord and the Bible inside and out. Nothing was watered down. Messages were not luke-warm. It wasn't always fun and I didn't always want to go. But I now realize that my smaller, more personal church made me who I am today. So much of my faith was built during my time at Bethesda. It was there that I had to memorize all of the books of the Bible, had to literally wash the feet of others in my catechism class, and it was there that I was baptized. I am so thankful for a Godly mother who believed in taking her kids to a good church.

Bethesda Christian Church in Sterling Heights, MI

Bethesda Christian Church in Sterling Heights, MI

All this to say - there's nothing wrong with smaller churches. There's also nothing wrong with mega-churches. It's not a competition. I've been to both.  I've been blessed by both. I so admire Andy Stanley but boy is he wrong on this one.


3/8/16 UPDATE: See Andy's complete apology here

Love that he can apologize and admit when he's wron/misspoke. He is the absolute best.