When God Will Not Use Bigness

From Johnny P. over at DGB:

“There are saving works that God will only do through small churches and ordinary people, not through large churches and more sophisticated people.

‘The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.'”‘ (Judges 7:2)

Beware of missing your appointed fruit by envying bigger trees.


14 thoughts on “When God Will Not Use Bigness”

  1. I recently heard a pastor of a big church say “bigness is destroying the church.” I believe what he meant by this is a lust for getting bigger. This pastor recently decided to go to a video venue format to accomodate those who want to come to his church … but now the church is getting … bigger. And I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing (actually my opinion of the video venue is much stronger than the last statement). Although not totally related, I’d like a post from you on video venues – addressing the pragmatic and theological (not necessarily in that order) implications. I know, it’s not related, but I like hearing what you have to say – – – Suppose this should have been in a personal email … but I’m too lazy;o) …

  2. Um… Aren’t you a sophisticated person (Ph.D. candidate) at a large church (nhc)?? How do you deal with the ‘bigness’ Piper talked about?

  3. KAR,

    I certainly am. And Piper is an even more sophisticated person (Th.D.) at an even bigger church! The problem is that there’s always a bigger tree. Envy can be a problem no matter how “big” you are, and I’m very aware of it in myself, especially as I think about Fusion.

  4. hmmm…interesting. i will have to think about it. i am not sophisticated (degree in sculpture) and i’m at a small church in a small town – does that mean God should be doing amazing things here?

  5. I meant my question to be more personal. Let me say it another way. What things are you doing to keep Fusion from being a mile wide and an inch deep like some (Upper Room, for example) young adult sub-churches.

    P.S. I hope you don’t envy Upper Room.

  6. Fusion can only be a half-mile wide because fire code only allows 285 people in the Commons with chairs. (399 with standing room only). 😉

  7. I guess I wonder why he sees it important to (apparently) classify large-church attenders as “sophisticated” and (presumably) small-church folk as “unsophisticated.”

    I’m going to charitably assume he didn’t mean to call us small-church types rubes. So what did he mean by the description?


  8. BMR – I read it as God doesn’t only use big churches or well known, well (theologically) educated people to do his work. He also uses small churches and laypeople. Don’t envy the size of a ministry or the gifts/status of others. Work where God has put you and with the gifts He has given you.

    I guess I have to change my moniker now that Steve G has hijacked it and been posting under “Steve” as well. How uncool is that?

  9. Steve: Fair enough, except that he chose the particular conjunction ‘and’ (note that when you explained what he meant, you switched it to ‘or’). Maybe it was just a simple unintentional slip on his part; I don’t know. But it’s a reasonable question.

    I was more curious about that than the primary message behind his comment.

    The rest of his comment seems fairly straightforward and on the mark: Don’t envy the tree! (After all, envy itself is wrong, and anyway, wouldn’t you want to ‘envy’ the fruit?)

  10. BMR – I did intentionally change the word to “or” in my paraphrase, although I don’t think it alters the message.

    For breakfast I can have ham and eggs or I can have oatmeal and toast. None of those things is dependent on the others, despite being joined by “and.”

    I agree it is a great point.

  11. Boal,

    I’m officially changing my blog-posting name so there will be no more confusion.

    I mean, what if Steve Sr wanted to post?
    Or Steve Harvey?
    Or Steve Buscemi?
    Or Steve Smith? (drummer from Journey)
    Or Steve Irwin? (crocodile hunter)
    Or Steve from Blue’s Clues?

  12. Honey-Steve Irwin is dead. If he posted here, it would be quite amazing. I know Bryan’s blog is kinda cool, but definitely not cool enough for a dead guy to post on it.

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