Tim Suttle’s book Shrink turns the notion of church growth on its head and asks if the church should shrink instead.
Suttle worries that a large church may actually alter the biblical ideal of church because it prohibits deep relationships among members that exist in smaller churches.
While Suttle brings up some helpful warnings against undue competition, focus on numbers, and non biblical leadership practices in the church, he inadequately makes the case that larger churches are somehow inferior to smaller ones.
For example, several times Suttle uses some unconvincing logic to prove his points. More than once his reasoning went like this: From sports illustration A, I conclude lesson A’. Illustration A reminds me of church problem B. Therefore lesson A’ should be applied to church problem B.
Additionally from Shrink we learn that churches should avoid “techniques of business leadership” but Suttle did not carefully describe what he means by this. Should we not have financial accounting in churches? Should we not have employee job descriptions? Should we not have written plans?
Finally Suttle created a number of false choices. For example, he implied that churches have to choose between quality worship and church growth. He doesn’t explain why a church can’t choose both.
In Shrink Tim Suttle brings up some helpful questions to admonish church leaders who obsess with numerical growth and competition. He also encourages church leaders to continue to seek God, faithfully minister, and leave the results to Him, especially when they are in the trenches of daily church life but are not seeing huge growth.