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Karl Vaters: Just Because Your Church Is Small Does Not Mean It Is Unhealthy

“Pastoring a small church is not a penalty for doing something wrong. We’ve got to get that into our heads. Pastoring a small church is not a penalty for doing something wrong. So what is it? It’s a specialty and it’s worth doing well.”

“Half the Christians in the world are in a situation where the pastor knows their name, where they have a big impact on the church, where almost everybody knows almost everybody…The other half of the Christians in the world are in a church where everybody doesn’t know everybody and where the pastor doesn’t know everybody’s name. And you know what? There’s no reason to believe that either one of them is in a deficient situation.”

“If we want to talk about church growth, to me, the only legitimate church growth is, are Christians increasing as a percentage of the general population? Often what we talk about in America as church growth is simply consolidation: We’re gathering into larger groups. That’s not church growth, that’s consolidation.”

“In general, the church is growing as a percentage of the population where small churches are multiplying rather than where larger churches are coming in.”

“There are a lot of small churches that are very missional, but simply aren’t growing numerically.”

“It’s really hard for us as small churches to reach out to the big church pastor. There’s too many layers to get through, and justifiably so.”

“Here’s my challenge to people who create resources for churches. You need to build responsive design into your product, into the way you do it. It should not be the responsibility of the small church pastor to adapt something that was created in a large church environment and have to adapt it down to our ‘screen size.’”

“In a small church, when somebody comes to you in the lobby and is upset at you, it’s someone you know, it’s someone you baptized, it’s someone whose spouse you might have buried…that’s the challenge the small church pastor is facing. They’re not getting the big multimedia blowback, but they are negotiating broken relationships on some really deep levels right now.”

“This is the first time that I’ve seen a crisis hit the church that hit bigger churches harder than smaller churches. That’s a real new phenomenon.”

Pastors, we need to define our current reality. And it can’t be based on three years ago. It has to be based on where we are today.”

“In my experience, the first reason when a small church is not thriving…is because they don’t know they can thrive at the size they are now…you can do the mission right now that Jesus is calling you to do right now with the people you have right now.”

“If you know that you can be healthy and missional while being small, then you remove that stigma.”

Mentioned in the Show

Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250” by Karl Vaters

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship

Check out Karl’s website
Follow Karl on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

Breaking the 200 Barrier course from Ed Stetzer
Carl George
Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church” by Eric Costanzo, Daniel Yang and Matthew Soerens
Leadership and Church Size Dynamics” by Dr. Tim Keller
Outreach magazine

Karl Vaters on ChurchLeaders

Karl Vaters: Your Small Church Has What People Need the Most Right Now

Karl Vaters: Being Small Is Not a Problem, Virtue or an Excuse