Microchurches Positioned for a Pandemic

The below article was written for Exponential by Ralph Moore. Please join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, March 24, at 1:00 p.m. ET featuring Ralph Moore, Rob Wegner, and Daniel Yang as they discuss how the church today can tap into the micro expressions which may actually fuel greater growth and depth of […]

The below article was written for Exponential by Ralph Moore.

Please join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, March 24, at 1:00 p.m. ET featuring Ralph Moore, Rob Wegner, and Daniel Yang as they discuss how the church today can tap into the micro expressions which may actually fuel greater growth and depth of community. Learn more and register here.


Heard a great message from a guest speaker in our church on Sunday — heard it from my recliner chair as our congregation operated through Facebook Live.

It was nice, but I really miss the face time with my friends. Also, concerned about the offering, etc. Of course, we’re not alone. Churches across the country are adjusting practices during a pandemic.

But Christ-followers are not alone in this. Apparently, the church slowed the internet as congregations began online operations. We’re not alone when it comes to adjustments. Facebook and Zoom along with internet service providers will need to make some adjustments as this thing grows.

Ours is a year-old church plant. We’re not all that big, yet we’ve come to depend on the same institutional prerogatives as our much larger cousins. We had no praise and worship time. Food service was off the table. Hugs did not happen either as they won’t for a long while. We’re not yet equipped for midweek disciplemaking groups via technology. We will be in a week, but not today.

So, what’s my point? Our smaller cousins in microchurches probably noticed little disruption due to the precautions the virus precipitates. A microchurch can easily meet through a Zoom call. And Zoom, Skype and other carriers are free for smaller groups. The same goes for disciplemaking groups. It’s much easier to discuss money if you’re used to face-to-face conversations about whatever difficulty a congregation faces. I could even imagine people singing together in an online video chat.

Whatever the case, people in microchurches start the day with closer ties than those of us in larger assemblies. Microchurches will be less affected by the inevitable dip in financial resources that is to follow. This is true of the logistic problems associated with online-only giving and the outfall of millions of people hurt by suffering businesses.

In a recent blog I pointed out that large churches, even megachurches, sincerely attempt to mimic microchurches through their small group ministries. This is because, as humans, we’re wired for connection.

It’s no secret that for centuries Hebrew synagogues were led by a “lay-leader” who took time to understand the scriptures better than his neighbors. No secret, either, that these folks weren’t professional clergy but bi-vocational at best or, more probably, volunteers. Groups were small and members well connected through their families and neighborhoods. The synagogue had to be the model adopted by the earliest Christ-followers.

What do you think those folks in Samaria did after they encountered Jesus at the well? How about the churches in Lystra, Derbe, and Iconium after Paul’s encounter with the murderous gang in Lystra? Those newly appointed elders certainly weren’t monovocational pastors. These churches would have withstood societal rejection and even persecution better than the megachurch in Jerusalem. They were flexible, below the radar and not dependent on massive injections of capital.

Change is upon us whether we embrace it or not. Our culture is moving away from our message. Massive budgets will be more difficult to sustain in the aftermath of this pandemic and its economic outfall. Small will becomes beautiful during hard times. Sure, we’ll always have large congregations and there are things they can do which are impossible even in networks of microchurches. However, the future will probably bring many more microchurches because, as this pandemic and its precautions dictate, adaptability is becoming paramount.

One last question: “Do you think the American church will go back to business-as-usual after a couple of months of doing church by internet?”


Please join us for a free webinar on Tuesday, March 24, at 1:00 p.m. ET featuring Ralph Moore, Rob Wegner, and Daniel Yang as they discuss how the church today can tap into the micro expressions which may actually fuel greater growth and depth of community. Learn more and register here.