Jump directly to the Content

Little Church, Big Faith

There are plenty of challenges for small congregations, but they also bring unique strengths.
Little Church, Big Faith
Image: Illustration by Michael Marsicano

On Sunday mornings, Caleb Fugate drives down a road in Pennsylvania’s rolling hills 70 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, past old houses on roomy plots of land, and parks in the gravel lot behind Diamondville United Methodist Church. The small, white building would resemble a single-room schoolhouse from the front if not for the giant Methodist logo—the cross and flame—beside the red door.

He officiates the 9 a.m. service and budgets 30 minutes to visit with members afterward. Then, it’s back in the car to drive 3 miles into town for the 11 a.m. service at Clymer First United Methodist Church, just a few blocks from a small strip of restaurants and local businesses in downtown Clymer.

The two churches are located in towns with a combined population of fewer than 1,500 people. By lunchtime, Fugate has preached to no more than 60 people, most of them elderly. During the week, he sees a younger crowd; he also runs the Methodist campus ministry at the nearby Indiana University ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

September
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Police Work Nearly Broke Me
Police Work Nearly Broke Me
I was a narcotics officer on the brink of suicide when God began his mighty healing work.
Editor's Pick
In Our Pandemic-Scarred Churches, God Is Making All Things New
In Our Pandemic-Scarred Churches, God Is Making All Things New
A look inside our fall issue of CT Pastors.
close