District Resource Academy, NYAC UMC

First Session: Redefining Success In Ministry  

with Karl Vaters

 

What is The Grasshopper Myth?

The false impression that our small church ministry is less than what God says it is because we compare ourselves with others.

All the people we saw there are of great size. …We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. – Numbers 13:32-33

 

Three undeniable realities of church ministry:

  • Reality #1: 80-90% of churches will never be larger than 250 people
  • Reality #2: 99.9% of pastors will pastor a small church for at least some time in our ministry
  • Reality #3: You can lead a small church well, without settling for less

 

Don’t fall for IKEA Envy

 

Small is not a problem, a virtue or an excuse

 

Bigger fixes nothing

 

Over 1 billion people choose to worship God in small churches

 

The pastoral prime mandate: Equip God’s people for works of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12)

 

The three essential elements of a healthy, effective church:

  • Great Commandment
  • Great Commission
  • Equipping God’s people

 

It’s OK for a pastor’s vision to be helping people fulfill their vision

 

Pastoring a small church is not a penalty for doing something wrong

  • It’s a specialty, and it’s worth doing well

 



Second Session: Big Or Small? What’s The Difference?  

 

Over 90% of our churches are under 200, over 80% are under 100

  • First Reaction: Oh no!
  • Second Reaction: So what?
  • Final Reaction: Now what?

 

People will come to small churches, but they won’t give up quality to do so

 

Many big church principles don’t translate well to a small church context

 

 

The law of large numbers: the bigger the crowd, the more predictably they behave

 

The smaller the crowd, the more impact each person has – for good and bad

 

Big church principles center on process, systems & programs

(Need help changing your church culture? I recommend Dirt Matters, by Jim Powell.)

Discover what your church does well, then do it on purpose

 

Use the “closet rule” for ministries: Don’t add a new one until you’ve dropped an old one

  • What does your church do well, that you would like to do more of?
  • What does your church do poorly, that you would like to do less of?

 

Move out of a destination mindset and into a process orientation

 

When thinking small saved the world

 


NewSmallChurch.com • ChristianityToday.com/Karl-Vaters

Facebook.com/NewSmallChurch • @KarlVaters • CornerstoneFV.com