Where did we get the idea that small churches are small because there’s something wrong with them and/or their pastors?
There are millions of small church pastors doing great, kingdom-building work with little or no budget, little or no facilities and little or no salary. Yet every day they bear as much, if not more pastoral burden as their full-time big church counterparts. All without recognition for the extraordinary sacrifices they make (not that they’re expecting any).
They teach the Word, pray for the sick, comfort the hurting, visit the forgotten and more. Often while putting in 40 or more hours at another job to pay the bills.
Able And Available
Some of them oversee more than one congregation, shuttling between them on a daily or weekly basis in a car that has seen better days.
Their ministry fields often include abandoned city centers, agricultural regions, small towns and impoverished neighborhoods that their upwardly-mobile peers have overlooked.
They can sometimes be found scrambling at the last minute on a Saturday night to prepare the next morning’s sermon, not because they’re lazy or bad planners, but because they were on hand for yet another middle-of-the-night call to a hospital, rehab or bedside.
Heroes Among Us
Small church pastors are not the failures among us, they are the heroes among us.
Yet, when we want to learn more about how to do pastoral ministry, it’s not even considered that they might have something to teach us. Their wisdom and character are completely overlooked as a possible pastoral resource.
Before you think “if they worked a little harder or smarter their church would be bigger” or “all healthy churches grow” take a moment to sit and ask them about their needs, their hearts, their burdens, their schedules, and their ministry successes.
Then, instead of criticizing, pitying or condescending to them, ask how we can pray for them, support them, learn from them and love on them.
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