I think so. Let me show you.
Jesus didn’t pastor the crowds. He taught them.
Think about that. Jesus was physically present with them, but the Good Shepherd said the crowd had no shepherd. Clearly Jesus didn’t consider himself to be a pastor to the masses of people. At times, he actually worked hard to get away from the crowds.
He was their teacher. He would be their savior. But he wasn’t their pastor.
Jesus discipled The Twelve. The disciples followed Jesus, they learned from him, and they served the church as Jesus told them to. They were less like Jesus’ church and more like his leadership team or church staff.
Jesus worshiped with with The Three. But Peter, James and John weren’t Jesus’ church either. They were more like Jesus’ support group. I know it’s hard for us to think of Jesus needing support, but he was also human, and that humanity experienced both physical and emotional weakness.
Jesus’ Small Church
So who’s left? What Small Church did Jesus pastor?
Jesus pastored The Seventy-Two. We don’t know much about them, but we know the following:
- They were followers of Jesus
- They spent enough time together to be trained for “works of service”
- They were sent out to share the Gospel, two-by-two
- They returned to share their stories
- They were congratulated for successfully assaulting the gates of hell
- They were encouraged for further service
- Jesus was pleased with what they did
In any other situation, if you read the above bullet points for 72 people and their leader without knowing the people involved, every one of us would not only say “that’s a Small Church”, we’d say it’s the healthiest Small Church we’ve ever heard of.
Jesus Set the Template For Us
So, what am I saying here? That Small Churches are the ideal? Or that large churches are just random crowds? Neither.
As with everything, the greatest example for ministry is always found in Jesus.
Pastoring is not something the Apostle Paul made up when he listed the spiritual gifts. Pastoring was perfectly modeled by Jesus – the only perfect pastor ever.
It wasn’t about the size of the crowd. It was about the presence of Jesus and the obedience of the church.
Jesus showed us what it means to be a Small Church pastor.
- He knew what it was like to have the crowds leave as quickly as they came
- He felt the frustration of training a leadership team that just didn’t get it most of the time
- He was let down by the people he loved when he needed them the most
- Through it all, he “prepare(d) God’s people for works of service“
- He was thrilled when the church acted like the church
If you’re a Small Church pastor, Jesus gets it.
This is the first in a new series of posts that will make up the Small Church Hall of Fame
So what do you think? Is it pushing things too far to say Jesus was a Small Church pastor? Does it help you to know Jesus went through the challenges that Small Church pastors face?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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