A small-church response to Andy Stanley

Perhaps you've heard the latest row over comments made by Andy Stanley in his sermon at NorthPoint this weekend. He's since apologized via twitter. But here's what he said:
Small churches are selfish! Churches of under 300 are not able to provide a full ministry to children and youth and are therefore inferior to big churches. We are selfish for continuing in our small church ministries.

“This is one reason we build big churches. People say, ‘Why do you have to make them so big?’ Let me tell you why we make them so big. You probably didn’t know this. This is kind of an insider secret. We want churches to be large enough so that there are enough Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers that we don’t have one youth group with Middle School and High School together. We want there to be so many adults that there will be so many Middle School and High School kids that we can have two separate environments. So when I hear adults say, ‘Well I don’t like a big church, I like about 200, I want to be able to know everybody,’ I say, ‘You are so stinking selfish. You care nothing about the next generation. All you care about is you and your 5 friends. You don’t care about your kids…anybody else’s kids.’ You’re like, ‘What’s up?’ I’m saying if you don’t go to a church large enough where you can have enough Middle Schoolers and High Schoolers to separate them so they can have small groups and grow up the local church, you are a selfish adult. Get over it. Find yourself a big old church where your kids can connect with a bunch of people and grow up and love the local church.”
Agree or disagree, the point he's making is that large churches are better for youth and children because large churches are able to provide ministry environments that are comfortable for youth and children. This is entirely consistent with NorthPoint's ministry philosophy, which is essentially to create services designed to be welcoming to nonbelievers.

But does that ministry philosophy actually help kids love the church? Will small churches really lead kids to hate the church? Jonathan Aigner at "Ponder Anew" offers an alternative point of view.

Don’t Take Your Kids to a Megachurch: An Open Letter to Andy Stanley

Dear Andy,

Let me tell you a little of my story.

I don’t set foot in many megachurches these days. I’ve actually been in your church twice. I normally wouldn’t have, but, well, there was this girl. Not the fiery Methodist woman who is my wife and the love of my life, but this other girl who sometimes attended, whose family had been members of your dad’s church, until, well, you know the story…

Andy, I grew up in one of those big ol’ churches you’re talking about, and it taught me to hate church. I would have left in high school if I’d had the option, but in my house, attendance ... was a non-negotiable.

Read more at Ponder Anew...

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