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When you spend over a week face-to-face with pastors of small churches, some patterns begin to emerge; certain topics come up again and again. As these pastors reflected on their ministries, they all agreed that small churches have different needs than big churches. Here are the most common points of difference.


No one would ever accuse a small-church pastor of being in it for the money. Churches of less than a hundred will always require some kind of financial help.

"Money magazine reported a few years ago that two hundred members were needed to sustain a church," said George Vanderpoel of Garden City, New York. "I'd say that's probably correct. Anything less than that and you've got to look for a financial bargain-either in facilities or pastor's salary-or else you need outside income."

Some churches are subsidized by their denomination, others earn additional income by renting their building to outside groups, while yet others hold regular fund-raising projects such as flea markets, ...

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