Hey Internet, Let’s Talk

About half of the churches in the presbytery I serve have a membership of 150 or less. The membership of those churches make up about a third of the presbytery’s membership. Most of these small churches are rural or village  churches. Some of them (like my own) are in suburbs that the economy has left behind. Many of them are served by certified lay pastors or by interim  or designated pastors.

My question is:  Do these churches not matter? In our denomination it seems that they don’t. I may be wrong, but I do not hear very much about small church ministry from Louisville. The only conference I know of is the Wee Kirk, and when I attended that I got strong support from other pastors, but not a lot of guidance or affirmation on what the small church was  doing well or where we were going.

Lately I have been feeling nudged by God into doing something  about all of this. I have ignored those nudges in the past so before the nudges become shoves or  the holy 2×4 comes out, I am taking my first baby steps toward something.

That is where you come in. As the church we know that power or ideas shouldn’t rest with one person. In the small church we learn quickly that many hands make lighter work. As a middle child and a pastor I have learned that my talents lie in moderating discussions rather than coming up with all of the great ideas.

So, I will nominate myself moderator and I invite the rest of you to start sharing ideas, plans, things that your church has done or is doing.

Let’s start with this easy question to test the waters:
Does the small church still matter?

Grace and peace,

Collin

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About collinwpc
I am the pastor of a small church in Columbus, OH. Over the past three years I have learned to give-up my pride and be a partner with my church, not a dictator. I am hoping to do the same here.

3 Responses to Hey Internet, Let’s Talk

  1. marciglass says:

    Great questions.
    I actually think a lot of emphasis is being placed on smaller church ministry these days. I get flyers for conferences (like Wee Kirk) that don’t quite fit my 200+ member church.

    But I’m sure you’re right. Much emphasis and deference is still given to larger churches. But I do think the trend is changing. Even Columbia has that small church ministry fellowship thing now.

    I think smaller churches do matter, have always mattered, and will always matter. Because people need community. We require it. And our culture seems to be doing some work toward fostering digital community perhaps. But REAL community requires non-digital interaction.

    In our congregation, we are constantly seeking fellowship that puts our people in smaller groups. We are trying to transition away from “all church picnics” and that sort of “one size fits all” events where people could get lost in the crowd, to doing more ministry in smaller gatherings. We’re going to start “house churches” this fall, which will have people sign up for a year of house church based around a particular mission emphasis.

    And we’re not a big church, but it does seem that the big churches work well by sub-dividing down into smaller churches. Hard to feel a part of a crowd of thousands. I love the size of the congregation I serve. I know everyone’s name.

  2. Andy King says:

    Before being called to Bentonville, I was fairly certain I would wind up a solo pastor at a small church and I was excited about it. I think they matter immensely, but I don’t have a ton of ideas. I do have 2 books I bought before my call. They are Entering the World of the Small Church by Anthony Pappas and The Indispensable Guide for Smaller Churches by David Ray. I’m the most excited about reading Ray’s book someday. He seems very optimistic about small churches being the right size to do what God calls them to.

    Of course, I may just have an overly romantic view of small churches…

  3. collinwpc says:

    You all are both right. Marci, somehow my name must not be on mailing lists for anything other than Wee Kirk. Obviously I think that the small church has a lot to offer. I am hoping that through this blog and conversations I can get some ideas to use here in Ohio and maybe create a resource for others as well. Maybe that is a big ambition, but who knows unless you try?

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