H.G. Bishop Youssef on Parish Size and Evangelism

More reasons why starting smaller American Orthodox parishes according to the model of the LA and SUS dioceses is the way to go about mission:

  1. The parish’s development can be overseen more directly by the diocesan bishop, rather than being the brain-child of pre-existing popular priests who do not report directly to the Holy Synod and may lack the requisite theological formation to distinguish between authentic missionary practice and the adoption of heteropraxy.
  2. Newer, smaller parishes are often less set in their ways, making it easier to correct any heteropraxis if it occurs.
  3. A greater number of smaller parishes allows for better geographical coverage of a region.
  4. Large parishes which may struggle with mission are tempted to virtue signal to their congregation that “we are doing mission” by introducing additional practices that may be un-Orthodox (e.g. Evangelical “praise and worship”), in order to make up for their inability to build consensus to remove purely cultural barriers from the Church (e.g. “taraneem” time – the idea that we have to spend hours “singing” before a “talk” can commence).
  5. In short, large parishes tend towards becoming ethnic pseudo-Protestant megachurches, whereas smaller parishes have the potential to be thriving, authentically Orthodox communities.