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The Strategically Small Church: Intimate, Nimble, Authentic, and Effective

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  65 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Helps Small Churches Maximize Their Unique AssetsBrandon O'Brien helps pastors and church leaders understand that a smaller church is sometimes better than a big one. He demonstrates the strengths of small congregations, including that today's church "shoppers" want services that are local, personal, and intimate. Also, small churches provide space to nurture close relatio ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers
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Darceylaine
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A revolution in how we look at what it means to be a small church, and since he is defining "small" as under 300, he is speaking for most churches. This really opened my mind about the purpose of my own and other small congregations. A breath of fresh air.

Note to my liberal colleagues, O'Brien is a conservative Christian, which I feel doesn't detract from his excellent thinking and years of experience as a church pastor. He does come close saying that homosexuality is unchristian at one point, s
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John Majors
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Any pastor would benefit from reading through this and considering how it might apply to your church.
Pastoralmusings
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Stategically Small Church is a refreshing book. It affirms the small church in its smallness. Not the ineffective, uncaring smallness that prays for “me and my four, and no more”. It affirms the fact that smallness isn't a bad thing, but can be strategically used to honor God and minister to others.
In the Christian world bigger seems to be better. It seems that we have bought into the world's idea that size equals worth. O'Brien counters that with the fact that a small church may not be able
...more
Yiya
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Pastor O'Brien understands that the success of a church cannot be measured by numbers - attendants, offerings, buildings, square feet... On the contrary, it is how much the congregation affects the Kingdom of God and gives its members the opportunity of accountability, participation, spiritual growth, intimacy and belonging. Therefore, these would be the indicators of how effective a church is and would allow its members to be confident in their own strengths, impact their community and provide ...more
John Lucy
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Anyone in a small church should read this book. It's a quick, confidence-boosting book about the qualities that all small churches naturally have that are often overlooked or purposely forgotten. Instead of overlooking these qualities and trying to act like a megachurch, O'Brien argues, small churches should accept and build upon the natural characteristics of a small church. Growth should be a non-factor as long as we are acting like a church, and indeed the small church is extra churchy.

Small
...more
Joe Cassada
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Brandon J. O'Brien is a pastor of a relatively small church. He is also a pastor with whom I would have many, many theological disagreements. Which is why I was surprised that so much of what he said resonated with me - perhaps because I also pastor a small church.

In a day and age when the mega-church is presented as the ideal ministry model, and celebrity pastors crowd the conference scene and monopolize American Christianity's attention, and small churches are viewed as not reaching their pote
...more
Tim
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church-ministry
At first, this book might sound like it's making excuses for being ineffective. But, it actually makes a strong case that a small church holds many inherent advantages over a large church that's doing real and effective ministry.

Interestingly, I have been simultaneously reading another book that lays out strategies and structures for large churches to employ in order to build authentic community. But "the strategically small church" is ready-made to accomplish this already!

Rather than focusing
...more
Eric Black
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership, church
Anyone leading a small church (under 300 in attendance) needs to read The Strategically Small Church. Very likely, it will be one of the most encouraging things you've read about leading a small church.

The prevailing model of church growth is "do as much of what mega-churches are doing as possible, and if you can't, then let a mega-church do it for you." Very likely, this idea has been a source of self-deprecation for many small churches and their leaders. Ironically, small churches are now what
...more
Dan
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Really couldn't decide whether this book deserved 3 or 4 stars. Guess I would give it a 3 1/2. Some valuable insights, but felt like he still used the larger & "cooler" churches as examples--which bothered me. That said, I agreed with much of what was written about the intergenerational ministry potential of the smaller church, as well as opportunities for leadership development. I suppose we have discovered much of this at City's Edge, and it bothers me a bit that I didn't write this book : ...more
Lyndon
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Solid starter book on the strategic strengths inherent in the small church. This is not a book advocating churches remain intentionally small, per se, but a call to change our perspective and realize that God has big plans for the small church if we make ourselves available for Kingdom purposes. Full of anecdotes and real-church situations that illustrate the main points. Good book for discussion with your church board. 4 1/2 stars.
Jessie Lowry
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is worth reading for every minister of a small church or every active member who loves their small congregation. It is not necessarily saying to give up the vision for growth but to stop waiting to be who we are (a small church) and playing on the strengths of that. Some people really are looking for what we've got!
Sandy
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a thoughtful, provocative, encouraging book. I really think anyone involved in church ministry should read this.
Jeffery Thomas
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Peter
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Debbi
Interesting perspective on the "small" church and it's strengths
Beau Brown
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Apr 28, 2015
Drew Dyck
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Brandon J. O'Brien (M.A., Wheaton College Graduate School) is a part-time instructor of religion at the College of DuPage and editor-at-large for Leadership journal with "Christianity Today." He is scheduled to complete his doctoral work in theological studies in 2012. O'Brien has previously published "The Strategically Small Church" (Bethany House, 2010).
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“The overwhelming majority of pastors are living this second story, the narrative of obscurity. According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, there are 177,000 churches in America with fewer than 100 weekly worshipers and another 105,000 churches that see between 100 and 500 in attendance each week. On the other hand, there are only 19,000 churches – or 6 percent of the total – with more than 500 attendees. That means that if there were 100 churches in your town, 94 of them would have 500 or fewer attendees, and only six would have more than 500. Mega-churches (regular attendance over 2,000) make up less than one half of one percent of churches in America. The narrative of success may be the one people write books about, but it is not the typical one. We have allowed the ministry experience of 6 percent of pastors to become the standard by which the remaining 94 percent of us judge ourselves.” 0 likes
“These insights should adjust our mental image of the size and success of the early church. The three thousand that responded to Peter’s message were dispersed over an area twice the size of Texas and separated by the Mediterranean Sea. Pentecost may have been the first mass revival in history, but it did not create the first mega-church. Instead, Acts 2 records the birth of many small – even micro – congregations.” 0 likes
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