Small Churches. We may not be what you think we are.
Yesterday I had a short conversation with a fellow pastor / denominational leader.
“You know Karl, I read your book recently and really liked it,” he told me.
So far, so good. I’ll take that whenever I can get it.
Then he continued.
“But I have a confession to make…”
Despite our amiable, but limited relationship, I knew what he was going to say next. Because I’ve had this conversation before with other pastors.
“Until I read your book, I’d heard that you had a ministry to Small Churches. But I had the wrong idea about it…”
He paused and let the words sit there, so I finished his sentence for him.
“You thought it was about little churches settling for less, maybe even complaining about the big, bad churches out there…”
“Yes, I did!”, he responded. “But it’s exactly the opposite of that, isn’t it!”
Yes, it is.
What’s the Difference?
I don’t blame my fellow minister for the initial misperception. As I told him, if I were in his shoes I would probably have had the same initial impression about a ministry to Small Churches. In fact, I did.
So if you’ve been slow to embrace the idea that Small Churches can be great churches, I get it.
If you haven’t read The Grasshopper Myth yet, or you’re new to the ministry of NewSmallChurch.com, let me take this short post to challenge any presuppositions you might have, too.
Ministry to Small Churches is not about doing church small. It never has been and never will be. It’s about doing small church well. Really well.
So what’s the difference between doing church small and doing Small Church really well?
Here are two starter lists to give you an idea. Many of these points are linked to previous posts that explain these ideas in more detail.
Doing Church Small…
- Is about a small attitude, not a small congregation
- Is filled with pettiness, jealousy, laziness… the list goes on
- Sees their smallness as a badge of honor – and other church’s bigness as a sign of compromise
- Is stuck in a rut
- Does little or no outreach
- Waits until they have “enough people” to do good ministry
- Isn’t limited to small churches
Doing Small Church Really Well…
- Is about a small congregation, not a small attitude
- Knows that Small Church can be a great church
- Never settles for less than God’s best
- Recognizes that many people draw closer to Jesus in intimate settings instead of big ones
- Does small strategically
- Uses innovative methods to tell the changeless principles of the Gospel
- Is big on grace, strong on truth and optimistic about the future
- Sees our churches as vital members of the family of God – just like our big church siblings
To close, let me say a final word to any discouraged pastors of Small Churches.
If You Pastor a Small Church, Know This…
- Your numbers are not your destiny
- The size of your building does not determine the size of your ministry
- A Small Church doesn’t need to become a big church in order to be a great church
- You don’t need to wait to start doing the small things really well
So what do you think? Have you ever had a change of heart and mind about the value of Small Churches?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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