The title is not my own or this article, for that matter. The December 7, 2015, issue of Christianity Today published this article by Karl Vaters. I’ve adapted it for our benefit.
- Do Relationships Well. People don’t attend small churches by mistake. They do so because they want a more intimate, personal experience than they can get in a bigger church. They want to know the people they’re worshiping and ministering with. They’re not wrong for wanting that. A small church can’t become healthy or big if we distance ourselves from people when we don’t need to.
- Tailor Methods to Size. (I completely reworked this point. DC) It’s easy to see good programs and effective techniques when visiting a large congregation and think, “If we were doing that, we would be large, too.” But usually the program they use requires human resources and other things that we just don’t have. We might have adults in five different demographic groups, but we don’t have the men to teach a class for all five groups. We don’t have the resources to set up the classes exactly like they do. Trying to force that model to our resources will just frustrate and wear down the teachers we do have. We need to use methods that take advantage of the size we are. If we outgrow them, and hopefully we will, then we adjust the methods.
- Let the preacher be the preacher, not the pastor. (Again, I’ve made significant modifications. DC) The pastor-led churches may seem to thrive, but looks can deceive. Pastor mentality, and many of our preachers have that mentality, is to pick up the ball and run with it all the time. Some members will admire him for doing that and sing his praises–but it’s still him doing it. He will get exhausted and frustrated and hurt. The congregation will not mature because it has become trained to cheer on the pastor instead of picking up the ball. Another danger is that his focus becomes THE focus. What if he is majoring in minors? Then so is the local church. The Lord appointed a plurality of scripturally qualified men to be pastors of the church for a reason.
- Do More By Doing Less. (Okay, I’ll admit, I like the other guy’s first point. I’ve pretty much reworked the rest. DC) It would be hard to deny that the church in Jerusalem was the largest church mentioned in Scripture but that doesn’t mean that they were doing more different things than any other congregation. Acts 2:42 shows that they only devoted themselves to four things. We don’t have to buy into every new program in order to grow, but we do have to be devoted to those four things. And they are enough. They will satisfy even the most ambitious church family.
- Build Your Farm Team. (I like this analogy, so I’ll leave it for the most part as he wrote it. DC) Big churches are like the New York Yankees. When they need a new team member, they can hire a great player from another team. Small churches are like the Kansas City Royals. If they want a great team, they have to build it from the ground up by developing a solid farm system. It has to be homegrown. That’s a lot harder, but it can still win you a World Series. It’s hard to find and train willing volunteers. But in the long run, it’s harder not to do it. Finding and training volunteers is a good small church choice.
- Let People Make Mistakes. (Back to me on this one. DC) We aren’t big enough to use only the most talented and the smoothest among us. We have who we have and that’s all. They aren’t all perfect in technique or ability, but we need them just the same. We don’t want laziness or carelessness, but imperfections don’t have to be permanent. Nor should we wait until Mr. Perfect comes along. He won’t.
- Don’t Act Like a Big Church; Act Like a Great, Growing Small Church. (No need to elaborate. DC)
Hope these were helpful.
Keep studying. DC Brown ©2016