The Role of Small Churches
The small church has a tremendous role in providing current and future growth for the church, both in this country and around the world.
Trained leaders are key to helping the small church reach its community. Developing future trained leaders will also enable the small church to plant and train churches, as well.
No matter what the size of the church, every church has a responsibility to develop leaders that care for both the church and the communities where their people live. I have seen numbers that indicate that seventy percent of all churches are under a hundred in attendance. If you are in a small church, don’t be discouraged. You are the majority! Let’s look at some ways that we can grow in our ability to reach the community around us.
Pastors of Small Churches
As a pastor of a small church, you probably inherited your buildings, your property, your leaders, and the people that regularly attend the Sunday morning worship service. Your church may also be debt free. As a small church pastor, you probably have three or maybe four leaders in your church. Most of them may have been the leaders for as many years as you have lived. If this is the case, it will take extra time to develop and train new leaders from within your congregation and the community, for a number of reasons.
Leaders of Small Churches
Family longevity – Leaders have often grown up in this church and may be related to many of the current members and leaders. This is not necessarily bad, especially if there is a heritage of godly leadership that is seen again in the next generation of the family. However, that is not always the case. Another challenge is that this structure can be intimidating for new people who have no family within the church.
Assumptions – Some may have become leaders not so much from the fact that they have leadership gifts, but because they are well like and respected by the people. This is a good start, but continual training is still needed to fully develop leadership gifts.
Density – “We’re a small church, we don’t need to train any more leaders.” If you encounter this opinion, you will need to take time to encourage people toward the vision of training future leaders for the community, the world, and new churches.
Members of Small Churches
In a small church, no one can be left behind; everyone is important. You are noticed and missed when you’re not there. A welcoming, caring, nurturing fellowship like this is best able to impact a community. The best way to accomplish this is by training everyone you can to have the vision of leadership in their sphere of influence.
Communities Around Small Churches
Most communities know your church, if they have the occasion to drive by it. Maybe they have even been to a wedding, a funeral, but they really haven’t had the opportunity to KNOW your church; the care, and love that makes this church a special place. If communities are going to be reached, we have to understand that at the beginning it’s probably not going to be by attending your small church. It may start by developing a relationship with a coworker, a waitress, or a clerk as you check out of a store.
Training Potential Leaders
The small church has its work cut out for it, but nevertheless, work which it is uniquely gifted to meet. Most of the potential leaders are already within its walls and are loved by the church because they have known them for many years. Getting these potential leaders working alongside current leaders for the purpose of encouraging them and developing them is what lies ahead.
What are some of your favorite small church experiences?
Let’s talk! Share the Love…
- What Can a Small Church do? Part 2 (mnashedsofhope.wordpress.com)
Diligent leaders actively dig into the word.
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” – Hebrews 5:11-14
Leaders are funny people today! They want people to follow them who are fully trained and have no flaws; who will answer a seemingly endless list of questions that ask the same things in at least three different ways. Then they will print out pages and pages of reports about these people in a world that is longing for someone to help us become less dependent on paper. After hiring the one who looks best on paper, they discover he has all kinds of quirks. Do they need a better employment questionnaire? Maybe. Or maybe this follower really needs you as his leader!
I was reading John chapter 1, and it got me thinking about this. John the Baptist said…
“I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’” John 1:33-36
As soon as John said that, two of his disciples walked off and started to follow Jesus. How would you react if your best followers started following someone else?
Then one of them found his brother Simon and told him “We have found the Messiah.” When Jesus saw him, he renamed him and called him Peter. How would react if your two ex-followers then recruited more potential followers?
But it didn’t stop there. The next day Jesus asked another one to follow him, called Philip. He immediately found Nathanael, who at first did not have a very high opinion of people who came from Nazareth, or even that a leader could come from there. He soon changed his tune.
And to top it off, a few days later this same leader was taking them all to a wedding and when the wine ran out, he made more for everyone.
But John’s attitude was, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” He knew that Jesus was the leader they needed.
Were these followers perfect? Would they look good on paper if Jesus was reviewing his questionnaires? Probably not. These men were self-centered, jockeying for first place, liars, wanting the benefits without having to pay the cost, wanting to know the end results. Jesus never for a moment thought they had it all together. For three years he just keep working with them, and having them follow him.
Then one day the words of John came true “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And sure enough, he did baptize them.
Who are you following? Who is following you? Are you about to give up on someone who doesn’t yet have it all together? As we follow Jesus he may very well bring us into places along the way where we would question His leadership; but the follower is not the teacher.
Let’s Talk! Share the Love…
What can leaders learn from the way Paul prays for the people at Colosse?
- Leaders should set the example of persistent prayer – Colossians 1:9a And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you,
- Leaders should expect results from persistent prayer – Colossians 1:9b-12 asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
- Leaders should point people to Christ – Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Building Sheds for Disaster Victims
Sheds of Hope Teams have built over 80 Sheds of Hope in and around the Oklahoma City area for tornado victims. Another 200+ are on the waiting list. Here’s a way that your group can help, whether it’s in Oklahoma or your own community.
Any Size Group or Church Can Help
ChurchGPS is providing a free plan to help groups in North Texas and Oklahoma pre-build panels for sheds that can be assembled by teams at the disaster site. The plan will enable you to cut, prepare, and assemble 2, 4, or 6 sheds at a time, depending on how many helpers you can gather. A church parking lot is an ideal location for doing the work. Just build and flat-stack the panels for each shed.
A material list is provided and the church or group can order these materials from their local lumber yards. The idea is to build the sections, floor, walls and roof trusses. These can be shipped flat to OK and assembled on site. You can arrange for Sheds of Hope to pick up and transport the pre-built panels to the site, where volunteers will assemble them on the homeowner’s property.
At the moment, we are focusing on Oklahoma, but these plans can be used anywhere.
Step 1. Download a Free PDF Shed Kit instructions from ChurchGPS. This will provide you with…
- The material order list for 2, 4 or 6 sheds
- Instructions on how to build your shed at your church
- Instructions on how to set up the shed at the site
Step 2. Have a fund raiser for the sheds (allow)
- Material for 2 Sheds allow $1,200 + $250 for pick-up and delivery – total $1,450
- Material for 4 Sheds allow $2,300 + $350 for pick-up and delivery – total $2,650
- Material for 6 Sheds allow $3,200 + $450 for pick-up and delivery – total $3,650 – This is a full trailer load.
Step 3. Arrange a work day at the church. 10 to 20 people who know what they are doing could build 4 to 6 sheds in a day. Don’t try and do too much in one day.
Organize Teams of 5 to 7 People for Each Shed
- 1 person to help organize the material during cutting and measuring
- 1 person to do the cutting (measure twice cut once.) This should only be done by someone who knows what they are doing – This is NOT a training day to help people learn how to use a chop saw!!!!!!
- 1 reading out the instructions for the people putting the parts together (a seat with an umbrella and cold drink would also be needed for this person)
- 3 or 4 building the parts for each shed
Tools Needed That Can Be Shared by All Teams
- 1 chop saw (you could set up and share this for all the teams). Remember: This should only be used by someone who knows what they are doing – This is NOT a training day to help people learn how to use a chop saw!!!!!!
- 1 skill saw (at least one for all the teams to share) This should only be used by someone who know what they are doing – This is NOT a training day to help people learn how to use a skill saw!!!!!!
Tools Needed Per Team
- Everyone have their own tape measure and pencil
- 4 drills with battery chargers and a #2 driver bit
- 2 hand squares
- 2 hammers
- Chalk line
Free PDF instructions for building the sheds ChurchGPS.org Shed Instructions – a work in progress 🙂 Check back for new version updates before you get ready to build.
How could you or your church help people affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma?
Let’s talk! Share the Love…
- Thousands in tools stolen from parking lot of Oklahoma City church (koco.com)
- Building Sheds, Rebuilding Hope (mnashedsofhope.wordpress.com)
Don’t allow personal failures to rob you of living the rest of your life by faith. Your best may still be before you.
Don’t be quick to disqualify others because of personal failure; they may very well be living by faith right now.
Hebrews 11:32 “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—”
In and around Moore, Oklahoma “Sheds of Hope” are beginning to rise above the partially cleared rubble where houses once stood. The project is sponsored by the Presbyterian Church in America’s “Mission to North America” branch.
Church teams have come from all over the country into the area and have built almost 70 sheds in the past few months. This week, a team from Maryland and another from Iowa helped build sheds for families who lived through the tornadoes that devastated their neighborhoods.
The shed in the picture is for a couple who survived the storm by taking refuge in a closet. When they came out after the tornado had passed, all that was left of their home was the closet. The lady who lived beside them just had enough time to pull a mattress over her head when the wind began to spin her and the mattress around inside her home. Rescuers found her among the rubble of her home, badly hurt but alive. The EF5 tornado took a direct path through this area.
The couple whose shed we built is planning to rebuild once a contractor is lined up. While we were getting ready to build the shed, a neighbor stopped by in his truck and ask if he could get a shed, as well. Sheds of Hope have over 200 families on the list for a shed. With only two teams lined up to come and help build sheds in the next few months, they need people willing to go and help build. Christ the King church in Norman will house teams and all it will cost your team is food and travel.
The two teams this week join a long list of churches that are helping people who have lost everything. A small team of six or seven people can build a shed. A shed is often the first sign that a home owner is planning to rebuild in the area again. These sheds give other families hope as they to begin to think about rebuilding.
I stayed in a campground near the church that was housing the teams. The man next to us lost his home, and all he retrieved from the rubble was some of his clothes. He and his son sold their lot and at the moment, they do not plan to rebuild.
People are having to make tough decisions. How could you or your church help people affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma? Let’s talk! Share the Love…
If you would like to help, contact Sheds of Hope
The crippling of our hearts can only be undone by looking to Jesus.
“But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’…And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Acts 3:6,10b
Ralph doesn’t want to be a bad guy!
My latest favorite movie is Wreck-It-Ralph. I have to admit up front, this is just the latest in a long line of movie favorites.
Ralph is the “bad guy” in a thirty year old arcade game. Each night, after a hard day of wrecking, he goes home to his pile of bricks – alone. On the other hand, Felix, the “good guy,” gets a medal each night and is praised by everyone in the building where he has fixed everything Ralph had wrecked during the day.
Ralph hears in passing that a medal is given out in another game, and he sets out to see if he can get that medal. To do so he has to game-jump – not a good thing, because if you game-jump and die outside your game, you don’t get regenerated when it is reset. Game over for you. But the lure of the medal is to great for Ralph, and he sets out on his adventure to get a medal in another game.
When Ralph focuses on being passed over, his feelings lead him to a very dangerous place. Now in a dark and hostile environment, but still bent on getting a medal for himself, he unwittingly unleashes forces that endanger those in his own game and the people in the other games as well. Feelings have a nasty way of turning on us.
Have you ever felt like everybody around you gets all the praise and the medals, and you get none? What do you do when life and opportunities pass you by? How do you deal with it? You don’t want to go Turbo and game-jump.
What could your church do to connect with people who feel they’ve been passed over in life and may be thinking of game-jumping? Let’s talk! Share the Love…
Listen to Lightning Storm by David Dunn
Adam Names Everything Under His Care
Genesis 2:20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
Jesus Prays For Everyone Under His Care
John 17:24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.