On Tuesday night, there was a group of Jr. High girls in my church office.
Tuesday morning made me smile a little. Tuesday night made me smile a lot.
Both are examples of taking what could be a Small Church frustration and turning it into a Small Church joy.
First, the flamingos.
When you pastor a Small Church in a very small building, every room has to be available for virtually any purpose at any given time.
Including flamingo storage.
Thankfully, the flamingos were in a box, not scattered throughout my office. That had already happened on the lawn of my house a couple weeks ago.
The flamingos were part of a fundraiser for missions. The youth department plants them on your lawn overnight. Then they’ll re-plant them on the lawn of anyone else you designate on the following night, for your donation to missions.
The flamingo campaign had just concluded, so the birds were back in the box. But no one knew where to store them yet, so my office was designated as a temporary resting spot.
Seeing them in my office first thing in the morning was a wonderful way to be reminded that, in a society where people are constantly asking “how do we reach the next generation for Jesus?” there are members of that next generation who are already using creative ways to reach their world for Jesus.
That was Tuesday morning.
Now, to Tuesday night.
“We Love You, Pastor!”
On Tuesday night, as I was at home relaxing, this beautiful photo of our church’s Jr. High girls small group appeared on my Facebook wall.
Every once-in-a-while they remind me of their presence by creatively rearranging my desk or leaving a little note of thanks. At the end of this week’s session, their leader had them take some blank nametags from my desk, write their names on them and pose for that photo. It’s their way of saying “Hi Pastor Karl. We love you. Thanks for letting us use your office.”
Isn’t there something fun and just …I don’t know… right about that?
I’ll go a long way in ministry before I receive a higher compliment than a group of Jr. High girls who say “I know my pastor loves me. I’m comfortable hanging with my friends in his office, and I’m proud to be part of the Small Church that makes me feel so happy.”
Small Church pastors, this is just a small illustration of what I mean when I say thinking small is not the same as small thinking.
Photos like that aren’t taken in a big church because big church pastors don’t need to share their office with the Jr. High girls group. It’s an Only In A Small Church moment.
Are there times I wish we didn’t have to share every room with multiple groups? Sure. But mostly we’ve learned, not just to live with the challenges of a small building, but to find the joy in it.
Joy Is Where You Make It
So what’s the point of this slice of life today? I guess it’s this.
There are little joys around every corner if we choose to see them. If we, as Small Church leaders, can be OK with what we have, and what we don’t have, we can find ways to celebrate the love of Jesus and our love for each other, in ways we never expected.
And, to paraphrase Isaiah…
So what do you think? Are you taking advantage of the joys that come with a Small Church?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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(Pink Flamingos photos by Karl Vaters • Jr. High girls photo by Stephanie Aksdal)