BOB Highlands III

A Paladin of Truth



Articles & Notes



The Grasshopper Myth

The Small thinking that divides the church today.

A Book Review by Bob Highlands III

“Hi, I’m Bob and I’m a Small Church Pastor

and I am not a failure.”


What is wrong with that statement? If you have been living in the church world for the last 40 or so years it would seem everything. The church growth movement took off like a missile and saturated every part of the DNA of every church, seminary, Bible college and pastor’s conference. During the last forty years I have read everything written I could get my hands on concerning church growth and growth techniques. I have read Mcgavran, Wagner, Schuller, Neighbors,  Warren, Hyles and Hybels just to name a few. I came into the church when busses and children’s churches were all the rage and every growing church had a major Sunday school department.  Evangelism Explosion, Campus Crusade for Christ, the four spiritual laws, small group ministry to name of few of the list goes on and on of the ministries that have come and gone. Every one promised a growing church training disciples and wanted you to believe that anything else wrong.


What if they are all wrong. What if every church was not designed to be a large growing church. The grasshopper myth is based on the experience of the Hebrews after sending in 12 spies and cowering in fear at the giants in the land across the Jordan river. What if the key to the success of each individual congregation in the Kingdom of Go0d is not size but how healthy they are? What if we have been doing it all wrong?


Karl Vaters in The Grasshopper Myth sets out to show that all churches are not intended to be Ikea size. There are some that are designed to be Starbucks size. The Ikea size church offers a wide range of ministry opportunities while the Starbuck size church specializes in small close personal relationships. This is not a book written for pastors of small churches it is written for all pastors. Until the pastors of all size churches see the difference and the potential of their churches we will not come near accomplishing our mission as the Church Jesus wants to build.


I give this book 4 Thumbs up


Thumbs up ONE: is for the honest and open approach that is taken in presenting what many have sensed and believed for a long time. The small church is part of God’s plan and this book can and should change how you view churches and the kingdom of God.


Thumbs up TWO: is for showing being in a small church does not mean you cannot have a large vision. Veters shows that ‘thinking small is not the same as small thinking.’ It is not wrong for a small church to exist and to have a vision that may not include a giant building and multiple mass services. Your church, even if it is small, may be exactly the optimal size God has chosen to carry out His vision.


Thumbs up THREE: is for showing there should be no divide between churches of various sizes and that they are all part of God’s plan. Small churches and large churches working together can and should be the norm not the exception. We need to find new ways to define success and how we work together.


Thumbs up FOUR: is for showing the advantages and benefits of pastoring and being part of a small church. Large numbers of people choose small churches every week. They choose to drive by large mega-churches to attend small churches for a variety of reasons. At the same time many others choose to drive by small churches to attend mega-churches. Much like Ikea and Starbucks people attend large and small churches for the services they offer, the atmosphere and because it is where they fit and feel lead to minister.


This is a book I wish someone had written and I could have read 40 years ago.  All churches and all pastors are not the same. There are pastors who are called and gifted for large churches and there are those called and gifted for serving in small healthy churches. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK to every pastor, no matter your church size, also to every church leader and member who wants to better understand the small church and its place in the plans Christ for reaching the world. It is time to get over our fear of size and discover the greatness and victories God has for all churches, LARGE and small.


One more things. If you are interested you can go to for more about the new small church and Karl Veters. I have never met Karl but I guarantee he understands and cares where you are and wants to help you recover from the church growth movement.

© 2016 Bob Highlands III

© 2017 Bob Highlands III