Philip Yancey has written a fantastic blog on Small is Large reflecting on mega church v small church and the community they produce, well worth a read:
The majority of Americans, like me, still attend churches with less than 200 members. We show up on Sundays to hear less entertaining sermons and less professional music—though we have no trouble finding a parking place. Why? Smaller towns don’t have the option of megachurches, of course, and big crowds make some people nervous. I found one more reason when I came across this paradoxical observation in G. K. Chesterton’s book Heretics:
The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world…. The reason is obvious. In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us.
Precisely! Given a choice, I tend to hang out with folks like me: people who have college degrees, drink dark roast coffee, listen to classical music, and buy their cars based on EPA gas mileage ratings. Yet after a while I get bored with people like me. Smaller groups (and smaller churches) force me to rub shoulders with everybody else.
Henri Nouwen defines “community” as the place where the person you least want to live with always lives. Often we surround ourselves with the people we most want to live with, which forms a club or a clique, not a community. Anyone can form a club; it takes grace, shared vision, and hard work to form a community.