When a Small Church sees itself as a problem to be fixed …
- They put more time, money and energy into growth than health.
- Good pastors get discouraged when they can’t get the numbers up.
- Discouraged pastors don’t pastor well.
- Discouraged pastors leave the ministry faster and/or get replaced too quickly, creating a spiral of less health and growth.
So what’s the alternative? How about taking a lesson from the Apostle Paul’s body analogy in 1 Corinthians 12. Let’s stop acting like the hand that tells the foot “I don’t need you.” No, that’s not what we intend when we prescribe fixes for otherwise healthy Small Churches, but that is how it comes across.
The result of that approach is that Small Churches start thinking that way about themselves, too. Soon, the foot starts saying, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body.”
Let’s stop treating Small Churches like a problem to be fixed and start treating them like the valuable members of the body that they are.
Feet don’t need to become hands, and ears don’t need to become eyes, in order to make a valuable contribution to the body. In the same way, Small Churches don’t need to become big churches. They just need to be healthy members of a healthy body.
When that happens, a lot of good things can follow. Here are just a few.
When Small Churches Are Told They’re a Blessing …
- They start looking for ways to become better Small Churches.
- We start creating better resources for Small Churches.
- Small Churches can commit their limited time, money and energy more wisely.
- They get healthier.
- Small Church pastors feel encouraged and become better, healthier pastors.
- There will be more healthy Small Churches for people who worship and do ministry best in a small context.
- The growth that does happen will be more organic and less forced.
- Churches that don’t grow numerically will still contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom.
So what do you think? What other benefits are there from treating Small Churches as valued members of the body instead of a problem to be fixed?