The gospel was built on failure.
What we now know as good news started as very bad news.
It was never supposed to work.
For a long time, it looked like it never would.
For too many years, I took almost all of the burden for the ministry of the church on my shoulders. And it nearly killed me – and the church.
So I went back to the pastor’s prime mandate. I redoubled my efforts to equip the church to do ministry instead of doing it for them.
No, the turnaround wasn’t easy. Old habits – both mine and theirs – were deeply entrenched. But it did happen. Or, more accurately, it is happening.
Here are a few of the steps we’ve taken to bring about that change.
Small churches aren’t just smaller versions of big churches. They have unique gifts, challenges and methods of operation.
But not everyone realizes that fact. Including some small church pastors.
This often leads to frustration when we go to ministerial conferences or read pastoral books. Most (usually all) of the speakers and authors are from large churches, so they offer large church solutions. But when we try to implement them, many of them don’t work for us.
It’s not that the speakers and authors are giving bad advice. It’s just that what works for a big church, often doesn’t work in a smaller one.
When public schools cut back on funds and have to let teachers go, what’s the biggest worry for every parent? They don’t want the class size to be too big. Even if there’s a teacher’s assistant, they want their child to have the teacher’s attention.
We understand the value of breaking into smaller groups for schools and sports. Even megachurches understand the value of getting their members to join a small group. So why do we devalue it in smaller churches?
Yes, there is value in large groups. I love big and megachurches for what they add to the body of Christ. But there is something wonderful to be gained in a church youth group where the youth pastor knows every kid by name, school and family situation.
In recent years as I’ve traveled and spoken with thousands of ministers, I’ve had a unique view of how ministers on both sides of the age gap treat each other. Some of those relationships have been great. Some… not so much.
At times, we seem so far apart, we might as well live on separate planets. But, beneath it all, we share more in common than most of us realize.
Young or old, we love Jesus, we love people, and we have a passion for our calling. But we sure approach our calling in very different ways.
The factors that make a young/old relationship either great or bad are as complex as the people involved, but I’ve seen one reason rise to the top, leaving all other factors in the dust.
How we listen to each other.