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    The Advantages of Smaller Churches

    By Stephen E. Atkerson

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    Did Jesus intend for churches to have thousands of members? Is bigger better? Did you know that for the first two hundred years of the Christian church, believers met almost exclusively in private homes? Did you know that smaller churches have many advantages over larger churches? Did you know that every NT letter written to a church was written to a church that met in someone’s home? Did you know that most activities prescribed for churches can only function in a small church? Learn more about the advantages of smaller churches in this mini-course composed by the President of the NRTF

    Course Outcomes: 

    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to: 

    1. Understand what advantages small churches possess 
    2. Be aware of scholarly and expert opinion on small churches 
    3. Understand from the Greek the true meaning of the word “church” 
    4. Understand Old Testament and New Testament “Temple” theology 
    5. Understand the nature and size of first-century house churches 
    6. Know the shortcomings of modern western house churches 
    7. Become acquainted with practical ideas for meeting places in the modern world


    Post in the five assigned forums. You will get a completion check indicating you have posted reflections. Also, we encourage you to read and engage with the comments of others. 


    After you complete viewing the materials and posting your reflections, there is a feedback quiz. The quiz will help us evaluate the effectiveness of the mini-course.

    Content Provider

    This course is provided by NTRF - Small Churches, BIG Impact!

    "For over twenty-five years, we have provided church leaders in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania with resources and training in how the early church met together in community. The essential tenets of the faith to which we subscribe are identical to those found in the doctrinal statements of any sound evangelical institution. Our favorite statement of faith is the First London Baptist Confession of 1646. In short, we advocate historic, orthodox Christianity poured into the wineskin of New Testament church practice as seen on the pages of Scripture. Our goal is to be Christ honoring and thoroughly biblical in every area concerning our church life."

  • Section 1

    • Please watch this video from the beginning until the timestamp 20:07. 

    • Зробіть повідомлення на форумі: 1

      Please respond to each of the prompts, numbering your answers to correspond.  

      1. How does a small church size facilitate fellowship, community, emotional support, closeness, intimacy and personalized discipleship? Please feel free to give your personal experiences, if any, in the answer to this and to the following questions. 

      2. How can a small church size encourage all church members to exercise their spiritual gifts?

      3. What size church, small or large, can best handle accountability and church discipline? Please give reasons why.

      4. What size church, small or large, can best reach consensus on important decisions? Please give reasons why.

      5. What impact does small size have on the ability of a church to multiply?

      6. What impact does small size have on a church’s ability to celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly as an actual meal?

      7. Discuss the advantages a small church size has for true participatory worship as opposed to a worship performance.

      8. Have you ever been caught up the church bureaucracy of a large church? Explain.

  • Section 2

    • Please watch this video from 20:08 to 25:16. 

    • Переглянути Зробіть повідомлення на форумі: 1

      Please respond to each of the prompts, numbering your answers to correspond.  

      1. The New Testament translates the Greek ekklesia for the English word church. Discuss the different definitions and connotations of those two words. 

      2. Describe the differences between the Old Testament temple and the New Testament temple. Be sure to use Scripture in your answer. 

      3. Discuss the typical meeting place of a New Testament group of believers. Please include Scriptural examples of places where believers met. 

      4. Please go through the New Testament letters written to churches, and for each one, state to whom the letter was written.

  • Section 3

  • Section 4

    • Please watch this video from 37:19 – 40:16.

    • Переглянути Зробіть повідомлення на форумі: 1

      Please respond to each of the prompts, numbering your answers to correspond.  

      1.  Have you ever had first- or second-hand experience of a modern house church or other small church, and can you discuss some of the shortcomings you observed?

      2. Please discuss the possible financial and ministry needs of a small church that might not be met because of the church’s small size.

      3. A small church might have a problem because it does not have enough qualified leaders or teachers in its membership. How would you solve this problem?

      4. Have you ever known a house church or small church that attracted dysfunctional people? If so, please discuss. If not, how would you deal with such a problem should it ever arise in your experience?

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