Church & Culture
Why Current Church Trends Mean Very Little In Smaller Churches
Small church ministry isn’t about following trends, it’s about knowing people.

In a couple recent articles, I wrote about current trends in church worship music. (You can read them here and here.)

If you worship or serve in a smaller church, you may have read those articles and shrugged, or maybe you saw the titles and didn’t even bother to read them.

I don’t blame you.

While our brothers and sisters in bigger churches look for trends, compare notes and learn from the latest innovations, small churches usually let those trends pass us by without a ripple.

Current trends almost never apply in smaller churches the way they do in bigger ones.

It’s not because small churches don’t care, it’s because current trends almost never apply in smaller churches the way they do in bigger ones.

Here’s why.

The Unique DNA Of The Small Church

The smaller the church is, the more unique their DNA is.

Especially in a church of 75 or fewer (that’s over half the churches), the mix of personalities makes every church a unique place.

The bigger the church becomes, the less each individual personality affects the whole, so it becomes more helpful to know the latest trends. Not necessarily to keep up with them, but to have the ability to speak into them.

But when a church is small, it isn’t nearly as important to know the latest trends as it is to know the individual people in your congregation and your surrounding neighborhood. To know their needs, their histories, their strengths, their personalities and their relationship with Jesus (or lack of).

Knowing People, Not Trends

If you pastor a church of 50 in an agricultural community, you don’t need to use the latest social media app. If you oversee a small denominational church in a once thriving, but now dying inner city, you don’t need to study blogs about the latest church trends.

In both situations, you need to get out of the office, off your computer, and into the community. You need to spend time at the local coffee shop, at high school football games, and visiting senior saints who haven’t been able to make it to church in a few years.

Very few of your most-needed skills are being taught in the latest book, blog, podcast or conference. The advice from those sources isn’t necessarily flawed, but it is limited.

They don’t live and minister where you live and minister. You do.

You are called to those specific people in that particular place. They’re not.

God has you where you are for a reason.

Small church ministry isn’t about following trends, it’s about knowing people so you can help them love God and each other better.

That’s not a trend, it’s the truth.

Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

January 14, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Join in the conversation about this post on Facebook.

Recent Posts

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters

More Newsletters ...