Small churches are essential.
They’re not broken or less-than.
They play a vital role in people’s lives, the communities they serve and the body of Christ. In big cities, small towns and the spaces in between.
But they seldom get the credit they deserve or the resources they need.
Since small churches and their pastors are not looking for praise or sympathy, the need for resources is the focus of today’s article. How can we in church leadership do a better job at providing small churches and their leaders with the kinds of high-quality resources that big churches have, but at a cost that small churches can afford?
(This is the third of three-part series that started with, Why Are We So Bad At Helping Struggling Small Churches? and Quit Blaming Small Churches For Failing – Help Them Succeed.)
Recognize That We Haven’t Served Small Churches Well – Yet
The first step to fixing any problem is to admit we have a problem.
There are a ton of resources about breaking through growth barriers, and I’m grateful for them. But there are precious few resources dedicated to the challenges, strengths and needs of the churches that have stayed small.There are precious few resources dedicated to the challenges, strengths and needs of the churches that have stayed small. And that’s the vast majority of us. Click To Tweet
We push small churches to get big, but we don’t provide enough help for them while they’re small. This is a huge oversight.
Appreciate Smaller Congregations More
Here’s the biggest reason for the lack of small-church resources – too many church leaders don’t really appreciate how valuable small churches are to the people they serve and the communities they reach.
We assume that their small size is an indicator of failure. Even healthy small churches that stay strong year after year, worshiping God, serving people, and reaching their community are considered failures if their attendance numbers don’t rise.
It’s hard to get excited about resourcing churches when you’re convinced they’re failing. Actually, we don’t just see small churches as failing, we see them as failures.
Prioritize Small Churches
Small churches should not be an afterthought when we’re creating resources, they should be seen as what they are – an essential ingredient in how God works in the world.
As such, we should make it a priority to create resources for them.
Innovate With Smaller Congregations In Mind
Most of the innovative ministry ideas that I see can only be done in a larger congregation, with a big budget and lots of people.
That’s not because small churches can’t innovate. It’s because most of the innovators have been hired by larger churches or ministries – and understandably so.As you create, innovate and strategize for the future, ask yourself “Can this work in a small church?” And if not, what would it take to create a small-church alternative to it? Click To Tweet
But, once you get to the bigger venue it’s important not to forget the smaller ministry you came from. As you create, innovate and strategize for the future, ask yourself “Can this work in a small church?” And if not, what would it take to create a small-church alternative to it?
As I wrote about in Responsive Design: If Your Church Leadership Ideas Don’t Adapt For Size, You’re Behind The Curve, the responsibility to think about how our ideas will adapt in a small church environment isn’t on the small congregations, it’s on the resource creators.
Cooperate And Coordinate With Small Church Leaders
If you work in a ministry that provides resources for churches, look around.
Do you have anyone who is tasked with bringing a small church perspective to the process?
From brainstorming new ideas, to creating and testing products, to pricing and promotion, there should be someone with a small church perspective on the team every step of the way.
Small churches have great ideas and distinct needs. If you ask us, we can help each other. Let’s really be in this together.
(Photo by Alex Jones | Unsplash)