Back in the 1990s, a motorcycle parts company in Southern California is said to have coined the phrase, GO BIG OR GO HOME, as a sales slogan to promote oversized pipes for Harley Davidsons. Some movie theaters have adopted the phrase to tout the amazing benefits of the big screen experience being superior to watching at home.
We haven’t adopted the theme here at Crossroads, but there are some incredible benefits to being in a larger church like ours. For example, every week we have the privilege of seeing people come to Christ in our services. Some churches go weeks without seeing that. Our youth ministry just finished a phenomenal week of camp with over 500 of our teens and adult sponsors where 47 gave their lives to Christ, 95 rededicated their lives and 17 committed their lives to full-time ministry.
What about the blessing of our sports ministry? With a 30-acre complex of fields and courts most churches can only dream of, unbelievable programs, possibilities for fun, fellowship, relationship building, the blessing of exercise and the experience of being on a team learning how to play together and win — thousands of people, young and old alike, are benefitting.
What about all the people we’ve been able to help through our Change for a Dollar ministry? Already this year, we’ve given close to $200,000 away to help 155 different families and 391 different individuals.
What about being weeks away from breaking ground on a new $24.5 million youth building and having it completely paid for before the first shovel of dirt is turned over? An accomplishment like that, which we dare not take for granted, is rare indeed and absolutely impossible except for a larger church like ours.
What I’m trying to say is, we’re blessed to be in a church like Crossroads. A few years ago, my friend, Bob Russell, who served at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, the largest Christian Church in America for over 40 years, wrote an article called Seven Reasons Why I Love A Big Church! I thought you might enjoy reading it today as we reflect on God’s blessings upon our church.
SEVEN REASONS WHY “I LOVE A BIG CHURCH!”
Southeast Christian has become a large church. While we rejoice over the way the Lord has blessed this congregation, some who are not familiar with a large church are intimidated by it. There is a misconception that a big church is cold and formal or will neglect its people and compromise its principles.
There are dangers that are unique to a large congregation, just as there are dangers to a small one. But there are many advantages about a big church that make it special.
1. A large church is scriptural. The first church began with 3,000 members (Acts 2:41). It grew every day until the number of men grew 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 NIV).
Southeast Christian Church began with a group of 50 people who met in Goldsmith Elementary School for the first time in July 1962. Since then, the church has continued to grow every year. 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.
There are some incredible benefits to being in a larger church like ours.
2. A large church can provide rich fellowship. The first church began with 3,000 members and 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 women’s circles, sports teams, mini-vacations, Adult Bible Fellowships, accountability groups, etc.
3. A large church provides an excellent opportunity for evangelism. It is much easier to invite others to come to church with you if the church is large. There are many special services and quality programs that provide opportunities for Christians to invite friends and family members. And the unchurched are much more likely to attend since they do not feel threatened in a large group. Soon they begin to feel comfortable and the truths of the gospel sink in.
4. A large church provides many opportunities for service. Some people erroneously assume they are not needed in a larger body. That’s far from the truth. The large church has many opportunities to serve because there are more positions to fill. For example, it takes over 1800 volunteers to provide the best worship and study experience for our children’s department alone! Piano players, song leaders, Bible School teachers, craft workers, etc., are all needed. That’s just one department! Whatever God has gifted you to do, there will be an opportunity for your talents to be used in edifying the Body of Christ.
5. A large church is inspirational. Most of us enjoy going to athletic contests when there is a “packed house.” There’s 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’s inspirational to sing and share with thousands of Christians. It’s thrilling to hear a large choir or to enjoy an excellent drama or to see several hundred grade school children participate together in a Christmas musical.
6. A large church has a positive influence. There is strength in numbers. One church of several thousand has an opportunity to witness to and influence our community in a very positive way. We can also have a positive influence in missions and world outreach. Our size enables us to provide meaningful support ministries to singles, widows, the jobless and others who need special attention.
7. A large church prepares us for heaven! In Revelation 7:9 (NIV), the Apostle John described his vision of heaven, “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.” A large church on earth prepares us for what it will be like in heaven.
The large church has been used of 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.
- Bob Russell
Hope to see you Sunday morning and hope you’ll bring someone with you. We’ll always make room for more!
Psalm 84:11,“For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.