One year ago today I started writing this blog.
I had no idea if anyone other than my friends, family and church members would care about this topic.
It turns out a lot of people care.
The main reason I started NewSmallChurch.com was to tell people about my book, The Grasshopper Myth, whose first anniversary is still to come. It’s done that quite well but, because of you, this website has done so much more than that.
NewSmallChurch.com has allowed a long-overdue conversation to find a home. A conversation about the value of the almost-forgotten majority of the church world – those who lead and worship in Small Churches.
In the past 365 days I’ve written 174 posts. They’ve been viewed over 73,000 times on this site (Jaw. On. Floor!). And they’ve had tens of thousands more views on QIdeas.org, ChurchLeaders.com, OutreachMagazine.com and more. But, as you might guess by the nature of this ministry, the numbers don’t come close to telling even half the story.
The Best Part of The Year
The best part of the story was told by you, the readers. Almost every day I have been amazed, blessed, touched and inspired by the comments, emails, Facebook posts, tweets and phone calls I receive from people who have read something I’ve written here.
The comments are almost universally positive. Some are heart-breaking. Many tell of life-, church- and ministry-changing decisions that have been made because of the encouragement you’ve received here.
Pastors who thought they were alone have realized they’re not. And not only in a “we’re in this together” way – as great as that is. Some Small Church pastors have connected online and in person to support each other because they found each other here.
Anything else I add to this feels like it might trivialize what God has done in the past year. So I’m going to hand the rest of this post over to you. Here are snippets of some of the hopeful comments I’ve read about NewSmallChurch.com in the past year. I’ve left the names off, but every one of them is a direct quote.
Voices of Hope – From You, The Readers
- “I was done with pastoring. It’s too hard anymore. This gave me me the strength to keep going.”
- “This is helping so many pastors! YES YES!”
- “My husband is a pastor, he started reading your articles and he is a changed man for the better. Thank you!”
- “Thanks for encouragement that we’re merely small, not unimportant.”
- “I believe your article has set my mind at peace.”
- “Being able to read through yours and many others struggles and success as small church pastors has definitely helped me learn how to better serve.”
- “This article has so helped me today … I so often feel stretched beyond, feel I’m NOT doing anything well, and feel the sting of guilt and the knowledge that someone, somewhere is disappointed with me each day. God isn’t calling me to that – but to trusting service and joyful obedience. …Thank you!”
- “Thanks for the reminder. So easy to be a workaholic in ministry. My family needs me and I need to have fun with my family and take care of them.”
- “With a hurting heart and in God’s grace, I find myself reading this article. Thank you Lord for your message to me this night.”
- “I appreciate your site, it continually challenges me to reevaluate my values and goals.”
- “This article has been one of those gentle ‘ah-ha’ moments of remembering my abilities God has given me!”
- “I thought somebody has been watching my life and wrote about it.”
- “I am finding your posts so encouraging. If every pastor of a small church becomes a Small Church Pastor and heeds the advice in this post, what a difference it will make!”
- “This article hit a major turning point for me. … excuse me while I go to the supply closet and get some more tissues for my office!”
- “This is so encouraging, because it can often feel like what I’m doing is insignificant.”
- “You are rocking my world! In a good way. The information you provide from your experience has been a blessing to our home and church.”
- “There is an amazing amount of freedom in discovering who you are and just being that. The pressure to perform is off.”
- “I’m so glad there’s a place that we can go where people REALLY DO understand.”
- “You are saying so many of the things we’ve said for years…but felt like there still must be something wrong with our ministry… Thanks so much for saying what needs to be said in such a positive and encouraging way!”
- “This made me cry. Tears of joy. Tears of gratitude. Tears of repentance (I’m sorry God for complaining too much).”
- “Amazing. This is FREEDOM for the small church!”
What could I possibly add to that?
Only God knew what would happen in the past year, so let’s trust him for the next one.
To say I am grateful… Well, it’s not enough. But I am.
So what do you think? Has NewSmallChurch.com blessed you in this past year? Anything you’d like to share?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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