Thursday, August 13, 2015

Perceptions of the smaller church

In one of my workshops I begin by asking people what most people think of when they think of a small church. The answers are almost the same in every workshop.

  • Dead or dying
  • Made up of old people
  • No money
  • Nothing is going on
And the list goes on. When I ask the attendees what each of these responses have in common they always recognize that each of these are negative. When people think of small churches they usually do so in a negative light.

Not me. I believe small churches are an essential part of the Kingdom of God, and that these churches have an important role to play in doing God's work. I have found many of these churches to be dynamic, full of excitement, and fun to be with. Many of their leaders are my heroes, Often bivocational, these small church leaders are dedicated, focused, and hard-working. They are not interested in climbing the ministerial ladder of success; they are committed to providing the best leadership they can to this place where God has called them.

Smaller churches have much to offer that people want from churches.

  • Small churches offer community. Many people live rather lonely lives today and seek to be a part of a community. Smaller church can provide such community, a place where everyone knows your name.
  • Small churches offer opportunities to serve. Although many people today are not interested in joining a church, they are interested in being a part of something they believe in. Small churches provide such opportunities.
  • Small churches communicate quickly. Yes, I know...sometimes we communicate too quickly! But, it's nice to be a part of something that cares about one another and can let others know when one is having problems.
  • Small churches care more about people than about programs or performance. We care more about who you are as a person than what you can do, and who doesn't want to be appreciated just for who they are?
I know some small churches have problems, but I'm still excited about the potential that exists in our smaller churches. We have much to offer. Don't believe the negative publicity that often exists about small churches. Identify the unique vision God has for your church, begin to live it out, and see what wonderful things happen as a result.

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