What do you do when you have a message that doesn’t quite fit within the norm?
How do you get anyone to take you seriously? Especially in this interconnected world with so many voices yelling at us?
I’ve been asked those questions a few times lately about this blog, my book and my ministry to small church leaders. Specifically, “How did you get through all the bigger is better noise and start getting traction with a small has value message?”
The first time I was asked the question, I shrugged my shoulders and said “I really don’t know. I just keep doing it, God keeps blessing it, and it keeps working.”
But I knew there was more to it than that. So I reverse-engineered it. After all, if I want it to continue, I need to know the why.
Here’s what I discovered:
1. Create A Track Record
There are no shortcuts. You have to do the work first.
No one wants to hear offbeat ideas from someone with passion, but no real-world experience. But if you can show how you’ve made it work, that’s something different. And valuable.
Whatever credibility I might have with small church leaders starts and ends with the fact that I’m one of you. I’ve pastored small churches for over three decades, including overseeing the church I now pastor through several transitions to become a long-term, healthy, vibrant, outward-looking church with an impact far bigger than our size.
The idea that small churches can be healthy churches may still be new to a lot of people, but no one can tell me it can’t happen, because we’re doing it.
2. Have A Plan
- Encourage small churches and their leadership. Let them know you can pastor a small church well without settling for less.
- Equip and connect small churches and their leaders with the best resources I can find or create.
- Mainstream these ideas to the broader church leadership world, so we aren’t just creating another division in the church.
To my continual shock and delight, those three steps are happening to a much greater degree than I ever thought possible. Why? Because knowing where I was heading has helped me make better choices. I know what to say yes to and, more importantly, what to say no to.
It also gives everything I do an internal logic that people can sense, even if they don’t know what that internal logic is.