Small Church Hall of Fame: Jesus Was a Small Church Pastor

The Coming of the LightJesus was a Small Church pastor?

I think so. Let me show you.

Jesus didn’t pastor the crowds. He taught them.

Just before teaching and eventually feeding the largest crowd recorded in the Gospels, Jesus called them “sheep without a shepherd”. That’s like calling them “a church without a pastor.”

Think about that. Jesus was physically present with them, but the Good Shepherd said the crowd had no shepherd. Clearly Jesus didn’t consider himself to be a pastor to the masses of people. At times, he actually worked hard to get away from the crowds.

He was their teacher. He would be their savior. But he wasn’t their pastor.

Jesus discipled The Twelve. The disciples followed Jesus, they learned from him, and they served the church as Jesus told them to. They were less like Jesus’ church and more like his leadership team or church staff.

Jesus worshiped with with The Three. But Peter, James and John weren’t Jesus’ church either. They were more like Jesus’ support group. I know it’s hard for us to think of Jesus needing support, but he was also human, and that humanity experienced both physical and emotional weakness.

Jesus needed them desperately. And they failed him deeply.


Jesus’ Small Church

So who’s left? What Small Church did Jesus pastor?

Jesus pastored The Seventy-Two. We don’t know much about them, but we know the following:

  • They were followers of Jesus
  • They spent enough time together to be trained for “works of service
  • They were sent out to share the Gospel, two-by-two
  • They returned to share their stories
  • They were congratulated for successfully assaulting the gates of hell
  • They were encouraged for further service
  • Jesus was pleased with what they did

In any other situation, if you read the above bullet points for 72 people and their leader without knowing the people involved, every one of us would not only say “that’s a Small Church”, we’d say it’s the healthiest Small Church we’ve ever heard of.


Jesus Set the Template For Us

So, what am I saying here? That Small Churches are the ideal? Or that large churches are just random crowds? Neither.

As with everything, the greatest example for ministry is always found in Jesus.

Pastoring is not something the Apostle Paul made up when he listed the spiritual gifts. Pastoring was perfectly modeled by Jesus – the only perfect pastor ever.

It wasn’t about the size of the crowd. It was about the presence of Jesus and the obedience of the church.

Jesus showed us what it means to be a Small Church pastor.

If you’re a Small Church pastor, Jesus gets it.

This is the first in a new series of posts that will make up the Small Church Hall of Fame

So what do you think? Is it pushing things too far to say Jesus was a Small Church pastor? Does it help you to know Jesus went through the challenges that Small Church pastors face?

We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
Enter your comment right below this post and get in on the conversation.

(Jesus & Palm Tree photo from electric nerve • Flickr • Creative Commons license)

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3 thoughts on “Small Church Hall of Fame: Jesus Was a Small Church Pastor”

  1. Karl,
    My secretary found your website and passed the site onto me. I’m a Small Church Pastor, and happy to be where God planted me. Thanks for dropping this good thought into the laps of pastors like me. I’m lifted up today because of your insight into the life of Jesus.
    Doug Webb

    1. Thank you, Doug. And thank your secretary for me. I’m glad we can connect like this.

      I took a quick look at your church’s website. It looks like a great church in a wonderful town. Keep up the good work.

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