Small church pastors want to hear and use the best ideas, advice, wisdom and counsel we can find.
So we look for it everywhere. From books, blogs, podcasts, conferences, mentors and more.
But many of my fellow small church pastors have stopped looking and asking for help.
It’s not because we don’t want or need the help. It’s that we’ve grown weary of hearing advice that’s offered with the best intentions, but is more hurtful than helpful.
If you’re in a position to speak, write or counsel small church pastors, here are 5 things small church pastors regularly hear that you should reconsider.
1. “Here's what you're doing wrong.”
These blog posts are everywhere!
Most of the writers and speakers come from a good place. They truly want to help. And they often have some very good ideas.
But such lists are often based on two faulty assumptions. First, that a small church must be doing something wrong simply because they're not growing numerically. Second, that the blogger, author or speaker knows the church’s situation well enough to know what’s wrong with it.
It’s not that small church pastors don’t want to know what we’re doing wrong. We do. And blog posts that help us correct our errors have their place. You’re reading one now, after all.
But here’s an email I received recently from a fellow small church pastor that will give you an idea what those lists can feel like after a while.
“I've felt so low recently pastoring a small local church for many years. Most of the signs of a healthy church are there, but no breakthroughs. Today I thought I'd look again at 'reasons your church is not growing' all the usual stuff of it been the pastor's fault (no passion, no vision, etc, etc.) felt like a huge smack in the face…”
That pastor is not alone in his feelings. I get emails like his all the time.
When you write and speak, don’t just get the content right. Consider how it might feel to the hurting pastors who need your help the most.
2. “If your church does what my church did you'll get the results my church got.”
Yes, there are universal principles for church health and growth. And we need to be reminded of them on a regular basis.
But, while many church health and growth principles are universal, the results are not inevitable.
Pastoring a church isn’t like losing weight or getting out of debt. There’s more to it than the math of calories burned and money saved.