Small companies are fueled by passion, innovation and risk-taking. Small churches should be, too.
As companies get bigger, passion is often replaced by profits, innovation by budgets, and creativity by quality control. Big companies tend to take fewer risks because they have too much to lose.
Unfortunately, small churches don’t have the same reputation that small businesses have. Instead of being a nexus of passion, innovation and risk-taking, we try to behave more like we're big companies - or big churches. But without the resources.
When we should be at our most innovative, creative and risk-taking, we tend to play it safe.
Safe is boring. Safe is static. Safe … isn’t.
The Opportunities Of Smallness
If you are pastoring a small church, I want to encourage and challenge you with one simple plea: don’t spend so much time trying to become big that you miss what you can only learn when you’re small.
Instead of seeing our size as a problem, small churches need to see their size as the opportunity it is.
Whether a start-up church, a niche church, or a shrinking congregation, we need to take advantage of our small size, not fight against it.
Emphasize relationships over systems, passion over process, and creativity over consistency.
How Big And Small Are Different
For instance, when you’re on staff at a big church, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that paying for a new program means writing out a check request form. Or that recruiting volunteers is as easy as putting out a signup sheet.
When you minister in a small church, you get to learn other lessons.
If you want to launch a new program you learn how to raise the funds yourself. And because you have to do that, you become better at doing it – a skill that will serve you well in any church of any size.
Also, when you gain a real-world understanding of how challenging it is to raise those funds you become better at using them wisely.
Any church of any size appreciates that skill-set.
Small Churches Have So Much To Teach Us
So many small church pastors don’t ever learn those lessons because they’re biding their time until they get “called up” to a bigger church.
What a waste! Small churches have so much to teach us about ministry. Lessons that can help us lead better in any context – and at any size – if only we’re open to learning those lessons when we have the chance.
Pastoring a small church is not a penalty. It’s not a lesser calling. And it’s not a pit-stop on the way to something better.
Small churches are places of great joy, deep relationships and outstanding ministry opportunities.
And they can teach us unique and invaluable lessons that we can’t learn anywhere else.
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