Small shots

Yesterday (Thursday) we finally bought a new computer for the office. After setting it up I got onto the internet to set up my homepage/bookmarks etc… Part of that was getting on PCUSA.org (a site I do not frequently visit, shame on me) and I just happened to click on the news/announcements section.

To my surprise there was an announcement for a conference that I was immediately intrigued with. Maybe you all have seen this We Are Presbyterian thing going around the internet, or heard about the Small Shots conference. While I think the name needs a little bit of tweaking, the idea is really fascinating: Make an eight minute video answering a few questions and then post it. On June 22 all the videos will be streamed and the conference part will take place on the internet through Twitter, chats and apparently small groups.

I think the ball on the announcement was dropped somewhere, but that is neither here nor there. What I am excited about is that this type of conference is being created. My congregation can only set aside so much for books and continuing ed so this year I spent most of my con. ed. money on books. Part of this was because I needed some nice heavy books, part of it was because the conferences that looked interesting would have blown my budget immediately, not the registration so much, but all of the supplemental stuff.

Events like this are exciting to me because it will allow those of us who can’t make it to the big stuff still be a part of the conversation. If the event goes over well this year hopefully it can become an annual thing. The other exciting thing is that if things like this are going on, perhaps it will get some of the pastor’s who are scared of the internet (if GA can finally get my dad to use a laptop and sites other than MSNBC then I am convinced anyone can eventually move to be slightly more tech savvy) to get online and join the conversation.

I hope that as the event gets closer more and more people will hear about it, post videos and join in. I am really looking forward to it, I hope you are too.

Here is the invitation video:

Here is the video I made. Enjoy staring at my big ol’ head:

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