They. Just. Don’t. Get. It.
Small Church Realities
Here are a few of my head-shakers in response to some of the above ideas, based on what I know a lot of small church pastors are going through:
Staff vision meetings? That happens between pastor and spouse over dinner every night. How about one, just one volunteer the pastor isn’t related to, who’ll show enough commitment that they can be considered a volunteer staff member?
One day a week for sermon prep? Most bi-vocational pastors with families are hoping to eke out a couple uninterrupted hours on a Saturday night for that. If they could find an entire day to set aside, they wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – spend it on sermon prep. That would be a family day.
Uncluttered meeting rooms? When your facility is small and multi-use (like in the church I pastor), or you’re borrowing a room from someone else, there’s nowhere else to put the stacked chairs. That clutter is proof that the room gets used for more than just one meeting each week.
Video announcements? Many small churches don’t own a video projector, screen or the computer to run it. Let alone someone with the time and talent to edit it into a tight video package. And what would be the point of doing that for 20, 30 or 40 people, anyway?
Not putting people in a ministry that doesn’t match their gifts? But who exactly has the empty-the-garbage-and-clean-the-restrooms gift?
I don’t want to be a whiner. But I do want people to be aware of this reality. So I have three requests for three kinds of people:
1. Church leadership bloggers and authors
Please consider that most of the pastors looking for help are in small churches. Give us some small church alternatives alongside your big church solutions.
Show us you get it.
2. Denominational officials & seminary professors
Please prepare the next generation of ministers for the likelihood that they’ll face small church challenges. Cries of “they didn’t teach me this in bible college” as a pastor heads to the restroom with a plunger, stopped being funny a long time ago.
Prepare them to get it.
3. Small church pastors
Try not to get discouraged. Take what you can from all the helpful blogs and books out there. But try not to put unrealistic expectations on you, or your church’s shoulders based on lessons that don’t fit your reality.
Be who you are. Not what someone else thinks you ought to be.
Get it? Good.
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