Thursday, February 11, 2021

Day 36 of 365: Small Churches


One of the biggest struggles for a little church is the fluctuation of forward motion and losing a few steps once again. When someone comes into a smaller church they are smitten with the quaintness of it. Do you know how many times someone has come into Radiant Fellowship only to compliment it and tell me “I sure feel like God is up to something here.”? That happens a lot actually. Let me clear up a few misconceptions though. 

First, one of the worst usages of “Christianese” is to walk into a smaller church and say “I sure feel like God is up to something”. The fact is, God is always up to something be it in a smaller sized church or a large megachurch. God is always up to something outside of the church. We see things all the time but even more so is the stuff God does behind the scenes. To say something like that is right up there with a missionary saying “we are going to take God to….so and so country.” God is already at so and so country and with lingo like that…that person might actually stifle the work that God is doing there already. 

Second, many people are afraid of small churches. Usually they are the ones that attend after leaving a larger place of worship. As I said earlier, they are smitten with the size and quaintness of the smaller church but once they realize it is run by mostly volunteers…all of a sudden they understand things might not be as polished. There will be details that fall between the cracks or a certain ministry might not even exist. This is the life of a small church. You work with what you have and 9 times out of 10 it is with quality people giving of their time to make church and ministry happen. You might even find a pastor that is not perfect and will use lingo not typical of a pastor (whatever that looks like). This might be due in part to the fact the pastor wears many different hats. From pastor to "counselor" to maintenance man to custodian. Us pastors of small churches know we are not perfect and don't necessarily word things properly. A lot falls on the shoulders of a pastor in a smaller church. Show some grace.

The fact is a smaller church will never EVER be like one that is larger. A smaller church with only 40-60 people will never measure up and to be honest that is okay. They might not have the latest/greatest sanctuary and they might not have numerous “employees” on staff and to be honest they will never carry the debt many larger churches have….to all of that I say, that is ok. What they can offer (at least for Radiant Fellowship) is a place where you will always be greeted with a smile. A place that keeps the main thing the main thing and that is ministry to it’s own and outreach to the city. It is a church where physical goals, ie, building programs are not the thrust of it’s ministry. There is a church in town that is raising $40,000.00 for a new sign. To that I say good for them...go for it! If people are willing to support it then run with it. For a church the size of Radiant Fellowship though, $40,000.00 for a sign would actually pay off all but $15,000.00 of our mortgage.  Ministry is and always will remain the goal. When you keep the main thing the main thing which is ministry and outreach…it doesn’t matter what size you are…you win. 

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