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Don’t Miss the Entrepreneurial Lessons That Only a Small Church Can Teach

Don't Miss the Entrepreneurial Lessons That Only a Small Church Can Teach

Small companies are fueled by passion, innovation and risk-taking. A Small church should be, too.

As companies get bigger, passion is often replaced by profits, innovation by budgets, and creativity by quality control. Big companies tend to take fewer risks because they have too much to lose.

Unfortunately, small churches don’t have the same reputation that small businesses have. Instead of being a nexus of passion, innovation and risk-taking, we try to behave more like we’re big companies—or big churches. But without the resources.

When we should be at our most innovative, creative and risk-taking, we tend to play it safe.

Safe is boring. Safe is static. Safe…isn’t.

The Opportunities of Smallness

If you are pastoring a small church, I want to encourage and challenge you with one simple plea: Don’t spend so much time trying to become big that you miss what you can only learn when you’re small.

Instead of seeing our size as a problem, small churches need to see their size as the opportunity it is.

Whether a start-up church, a niche church or a shrinking congregation, we need to take advantage of our small size, not fight against it.

Emphasize relationships over systems, passion over process and creativity over consistency.

How Big and Small Are Different

For instance, when you’re on staff at a big church, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that paying for a new program means writing out a check request form. Or that recruiting volunteers is as easy as putting out a signup sheet.

When you minister in a small church, you get to learn other lessons.

If you want to launch a new program you learn how to raise the funds yourself. And because you have to do that, you become better at doing it—a skill that will serve you well in any church of any size.

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Karl is the author of four books and has been in pastoral ministry for almost 40 years. He is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a healthy small church in Orange County, California, where he has ministered for over 27 years with his wife, Shelley. Karl’s heart is to help pastors of small churches find the resources to lead well and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a small church. Karl produces resources for Helping Small Churches Thrive at KarlVaters.com, and has created S.P.A.R.K. Online (Small-Church Pastors Adapt & Recover Kit), which is updated regularly with new resources to help small churches deal with issues related to the COVID-19 crisis and aftermath.