How Big is the Ideal Church?
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
In the United States, churches can vary greatly in size ranging from small home bible studies to massive 30,000+ abominations, I mean "megachurches" as they're called these days. Is there an ideal size though? What is gained or lost as an assembly of believers grows in size?
The Ideal Church Size
Pastor Jim on Gab suggested that the "normal" church is about 75-125 active people, and that you run into problems when you go too far in either direction. I also find it interesting that Mennonite churches split up when a congregation grows to 100.
I belong to a smaller church (under 75), and think it is fantastic. Solid Biblical preaching and genuine Christian fellowship with weekly soul-winning. I think there are far more dangers of a big church than a small one, and it seems that as a congregation grows there's a tendency to water down the preaching to make everyone feel welcomed.
A friend recently said he doesn't like smaller churches at all (and he means under two or three hundred at least) because of their lack of resources to have various programs. He likes large churches for their couples counseling, kids programs, marriage classes, and other various internal ministries. I can see how single people would also like a larger church to have more options to find a spouse.
There's just one problem with all of those "benefits" -- none of them are found in Scripture.
The Biblical Church
Churches in the Bible weren't known for their summer activity programs, or groups for singles to mingle. They were known for their commitment to doctrine and for relentlessly sharing the gospel. What is YOUR church focused on?
And for the size of biblical churches, we can't say for certain, but all of them met in personal homes! Dedicated church buildings didn't even exist until sometime in the 3rd century. I just don't think most personal homes could fit more than 100 people, or maybe even 20, though some were certainly fairly large such as the church at Ephesus which had multiple Elders (Acts 20:17).
Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
1 Corinthians 16:19
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
To conclude, I have to agree with Pastor Jim, that a good church size is usually between 75 and 125 people, though there are of course plenty of exceptions, and this is just a rough guideline.
Watch this great documentary below on megachurches: