Talk to a fisherman about the best place to get a good lure and you will get various responses according to the turn of the angler.  Some will tell you to go to Bass Pro Shop because they have such a huge selection—everything you could ask for your fishing experience as well as a bunch of stuff you hadn’t even thought about needing before you walked in the door.

  Others would tell you to go to Walmart.  They have a decent selection of lures for many different kinds of fishing.  And of course they have low prices so you can buy more goodies for the same dollar.

  Then there are the folks who would tell you quickly that the large size of Bass Pro and the medium selection of Walmart can’t compare to the personal service of the local bait shop.  They know you, as well as all of their customers, by name.  They can order you any lure you like (try that at Walmart where they basically get only what the home office allows).  Besides, shopping at the bait shop is more in touch with the local economy.

  This is basically the same way many people feel about mega churches, medium sized churches, and small congregations.  Those who believe the mega churches are the way to go cite the many programs you can find there—some of which you never even thought about.  The medium church crowd will tell you that they have a good enough selection of programs (often only the ones endorsed by their association) but they are small enough to be more personal.

  And of course the small church admirers talk about the personal touch.  They all know one another’s names and can adapt their programs more easily to meet their congregants needs.  The smaller congregations are more in touch with their local community.

  The result is often a competition, at least in the minds of the church folks, for members from the community.  Pride in what God is doing in your midst is a good thing.  But seeing other churches as someone you have to “beat out” for people is unbiblical and unhealthy.  It is okay, even expected for fishing lure stores to fight for the dollars out there.  But it is never good for churches to be in this position.

  We are in a fight—a fight for souls.  And our adversary is the devil, not our brothers and sisters in Christ.  In reality, our world needs all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.  No small church should ever feel inferior to a mega congregation.

  The first small church I pastored was in a rural area close to a town with a church with large bus ministry.  Naturally they sent a bus out in our community each Sunday to pick up children.  Some of my people resented it.  One even told me that if they really cared about helping others they would use their resources to run their buses and drop the riders off at smaller churches like ours!  Of course she overlooked the fact that the kids on that bus wanted to go to the big church with the stuff they knew they would get there.  And she should be glad that these kids had been reached by someone.

  She didn’t see it that way because she saw it as a competition—us against the big church.  But our fight is against the powers of darkness.  The small church will shine brighter when its people learn to accept the role that all of God’s congregations play in moving His kingdom forward.

  Don’t get caught up in worldly battles with other churches.  Rejoice in God’s blessings on yours and be the best expression of the bride of Christ on earth you can be while praising the Lord for His work in others as well.