Small churches aren’t just smaller versions of big churches. They have unique gifts, challenges and methods of operation.
But not everyone realizes that fact. Including some small church pastors.
This often leads to frustration when we go to ministerial conferences or read pastoral books. Most (usually all) of the speakers and authors are from large churches, so they offer large church solutions. But when we try to implement them, many of them don’t work for us.
It’s not that the speakers and authors are giving bad advice. It’s just that what works for a big church, often doesn’t work in a smaller one.
And no, I don’t buy the argument that not following the advice of big church speakers and authors is why we’re small. We’ve tried to follow their advice, but a lot of it doesn’t apply to our situations.
As I noted in a previous article, our churches aren’t small because we make small church choices. We make small church choices because our churches are small.
Here’s an example.
You Might Be the Problem, Or…
Recently, a reader got in touch with me, using this opening line, “Karl, I finally have a little time to write you. I’m the senior dude at a small church and I’ve been busy fixing a leak in the men’s bathroom. It’s my calling…”
His men’s room reference was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but it was probably true, too. It reminded me of a video I saw at a ministerial conference a few years ago, promoting Tony Morgan’s book, Killing Cockroaches.
The video tells the story of how, when Tony was a city manager, he was interrupted one day by a screaming woman, running into his office, asking him to kill a cockroach. He dutifully went and killed the offending pest (the cockroach, not the woman). Then he wondered how he’d allowed an atmosphere in which people thought it was appropriate to expect the CEO to kill cockroaches.
Morgan uses this incident to teach lessons about how being a good pastor is like being a good manager. That our days shouldn’t be wasted on trivial tasks, like killing cockroaches.
You can see this short, fun video by clicking this link. Here are the points he makes in it:
Tony Morgan’s “Things I Can Do”
- Blocking time out in my schedule to dream, to plan and to work on the big picture projects