If you’re a Christian and prefer attending smaller churches instead getting lost in the crowd at a megachurch, you might just be “stinking selfish,” according to Atlanta-based megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. During his sermon last week, Stanley said that going to smaller churches, just “teaches your children to hate church,” and that only bigger churches offer the potential to connect with more believers:
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 drag your kids to a church they hate, and then they grow up and hate the local church.
Yowza. Considering about half of churchgoers attend smaller churches (less than 400 congregants), those were fighting words to many. Karl Vaters, the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides Us, shot back with this over at his blog:
You’re wrong to insult your fellow churches, pastors, church members and yes, the millions of young people all over the world who love the small churches they choose to attend…You’ve wounded some of the hardest-working, godliest, most committed servants I know.
Though he issued an apology after a prompt backlash, Stanley’s haughty remarks highlighted the friction between community churches and megachurches. A celebrity pastor with such a huge following going after small-church leaders might seem a little bit like Goliath chasing after David—until you remember how that story ends!