Home Podcast Stephen Witmer: Your ‘Forgotten’ Small Church Is Really Important

Stephen Witmer: Your ‘Forgotten’ Small Church Is Really Important

“The way success is being defined, am I being successful in ministry?”

“A big part of my own growth in happiness, in joy, in satisfaction, and diminishing of envy has come as I’ve meditated on the gospel and then allowed the gospel to drive and shape my view of the kind of ministry I’m doing and the kind of ministry that often occurs in small places.”

“Slowness [in ministry development] and frustration with slowness is not unique to small places. However, often things to do tend to move more slowly in a small town/small church that has fewer resources.”

“If you’re ministering in a small town, it’s important to not be allergic to things moving slowly.”

“Our culture often universally privileges speed over slowness, and I see the gospel pushing back against that.”

“I’ve had conversations with some community leaders in my town that were a decade in the making. It just took a long time to build relationship.”

“I want my ministry to not just verbally communicate the gospel, but to take on the very shape and character of the gospel.”

“The gospel often looks unstrategic. It looks lavish.”

“Here’s a metric of success for me and for all the pastors listening: is your ministry ‘see through’ to Christ? Does is it savor of the gospel?”

“Ministry on the periphery does not need to be peripheral ministry.”

“As you pray and seek God and seek to impact your community, you will not be peripheral. You can become central to your community.”

Pray, immerse yourself in the gospel, and then listen. Don’t try to rush. Get to know your neighbors. Start small. Be ok with small.” 

“What you’re doing matters enormously, whether other people see it or not, whether it looks good in the eyes of the world or not. It’s really important.”

“We should want revival more, but we shouldn’t need it.”

“It might be that [God] is using your forgotten church and your forgotten community to say something really eternally precious about his own character and about his gospel.” 

Mentioned in the Show by Stephen Witmer

1 Corinthians 15:58
Ephesians 3

A Big Gospel in Small Places: Why Ministry in Forgotten Communities Matters, Stephen Witmer
Robert Wuthnow
Small Town Summits
Tim Keller
Wendell Berry
Woman who anoints Jesus

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As Vice President of Ministry Mobilization for Outreach, Inc., Jason dedicates his time to encouraging and equipping churches, denominations and ministry organizations to develop their Kingdom effectiveness by creating a culture that is both incarnational and invitational. He also serves as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement and hosts the weekly ChurchLeaders podcast. Jason lives on Anastasia Island, Florida, with his beautiful wife and children. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jasondaye