Why has the church fallen for the lie that bigger is better, that more is the goal? The bigger the church congregation, the larger the youth group, the more successful the church. We are trying to mass produce disciples, which goes against everything we know and believe to be true. In schools we know that the lower the student/teacher ratio the more effective the teaching is and the better the students are able to understand and put what they are learning into practice. If the church were to adopt this strategy, perhaps some of our mega-churches would not be held up as examples and church growth talk would not be about numbers, but about actual growth in the people of the church.
After all, Jesus did not try to train thousands at a time, but picked 12 to walk with daily. His investment in the few eventually had a real impact on millions, but he didn’t try to do reach tens of thousands at a time. Discipleship cannot work the way we are trying to do it, and we see the evidence in the stats about the church today. Perhaps it is time to look to the past to find the model for the future.