As I said earlier, normal-sized churches can gather around a common cause. Becoming “boutique” around a particular focus may even lead to growth. The church I attend is one of those. It was a normal-sized church for a long time, and the vast majority of their mission portfolio is providing clean water in parts of the world that don't have it. Now, the church has services with an average of 3,500 people on a weekend. Their focus on missions may not be the reason for that growth, but we gathered around a common cause and stuck to it.
KV: You specialize in helping churches find the right pastor or pastoral staff member. What's your advice for smaller churches that can't pay a pastor full-time, if at all?
WV: I don’t think rural smaller churches that can't afford a full-time pastor have to reinvent the wheel here. There is a pattern. It used to be in the Methodist Church that a pastor would pastor three or four parishes and circuit ride between them or among them. Maybe it's time for smaller churches that are not necessarily connected by denomination to share a pastor.
In my experience, if there's one trend in staffing, it's that people are paying more money for fewer people. In other words, larger churches are hiring fewer people, but they're much more talented and much more well-compensated people than in the past.
Maybe smaller churches could learn from that. Perhaps they could say, "Instead of trying to find someone who we can get by with who is part-time, why don't we share a really great full-time pastor with a congregation 15 or 20 minutes away?" It might be a way for small churches to become multi-site overnight.