Are you a small church pastor? Me too.
Have you ever felt like that’s not enough? Me too.
Today I have good news for both of us.
Your church is big enough.
Right now. Today. At its current size.
Your church is big enough to do what Jesus is calling you to do, and to be who he’s calling you to be.
Your church is big enough to minister the healing grace of Jesus to its members. And you have enough members to take that healing grace to your community in an overflow of joy, hope and healing.
Quit Waiting – Start Doing
I know what some of you are thinking about the title of this post – because I used to think it, too. If we tell pastors their church is big enough, aren’t we encouraging them to settle? Aren’t we giving in to apathy?
Quite the opposite. The premise of this post is not about settling, it’s about doing. Now. If you pastor a small church, you don’t need to wait until your church is big to start doing great ministry.
I’m not anti church growth. I’m very pro church growth. Jesus said he would build his church, and I always want to be on Jesus’ side.
Every church is called to worship, disciple, fellowship, minister and evangelize with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And leave the results in Jesus’ hands.
No matter what size your church is, you can do those things. All of them. And you can do them well.
Jesus is better at growing his church than we are. If we’ll do our part of making disciples and equipping the saints, Jesus will do his part of growing the church.
But when we think our church needs to be bigger, we often miss out on doing the great things Jesus has for our church right here, right now.
Isn’t Bigger Better?
We’ve had a 40-50 year love affair with growing bigger churches in much of the western church world. Actually, we’ve had a love affair with the idea that bigger is better.
I’ve been to a lot of church ministry conferences. Many of them have been great events put on by helpful people about how to do church ministry better.
I go because it’s good to strive to be better in everything we do. But the not-always-so-subtle message behind many of those seminars and conferences is that your church isn’t big enough.
It doesn’t even matter how big your church is. The message is always the same. If it’s 50 people, it needs to be 100. 200? Needs to be 400. 1,000? Shoot for 2,000. You get the idea.
Healthy Things Grow, Right?
For years I strived to do that. I applied the principles of church growth so that the inevitable increase would happen. I planted good seed, watered, cleared the weeds, fertilized the soil. I used every planting and gardening metaphor you could think of, then prayed for the Lord to bring increase.
The numbers stayed the same.
Okay, not exactly nothing. There was some growth. In our first dozen years, an unhealthy church of 35 became a healthy congregation of about 150. But we’ve plateaued there. We’ve been at the upper end of what’s considered a small church for over a decade. As hard as I’ve worked and prayed, we haven’t been able to break through that stubborn, so-called 200 barrier.
But, while I was stressing over numbers, Christ was creating a vibrant community of loving people at our church. We’ve raised up and sent out missionaries, helped plant a church, trained ministry interns, worked to bring Christ’s healing restoration to families and marriages, fed the hungry, taught the scriptures, baptized new believers, seen people saved and healed by God’s grace, and more.
For years, I didn’t really believe that mattered because it didn’t add butts in the seats. But it did count to Jesus. And it counted to the people whose lives were changed.
As I’ve allowed Jesus to give me an attitude adjustment, now it counts to me, too. In fact, one-at-a-time life transformation has become the only factor that counts to me now.
What Has God Called You to Do?
Jesus calls every church and every church leader for a purpose. And he equips us with everything we need to accomplish that purpose.
You and your church don’t need one more member, one more dollar, or one more square foot of facility. You don’t even need a facility, if your church doesn’t have one. You can start doing right now what Jesus is calling your church to do right now.
It’s time to stop worrying about getting bigger, and start doing what we can do now. At your current size. In your current location. With your current budget.
Your church is big enough. Because our God is big enough.
It all starts here.
(Photo by CLAUDIA DEA | Flickr)