Stuff We Like: and

Jacobs 200c“Why am I doing this alone?”

That question is written on a card that sits on my desk. I look at it every day.

It’s there because I need to regularly remind myself that I’ve already spent too many years trying to fulfill this challenging, exhilarating, frustrating calling of pastoring a Small Church all by myself – and so have you.

I pushed myself so far that I burned out in ministry and was hanging by a spiritual and emotional thread until I finally sought out the help I needed.

I wish I had known Dave Jacobs 20 years ago. If I’d been coached by him early in my ministry, I wouldn’t have spent the years in crisis that I did. “Why are you doing this alone?” is one of the first questions Dave would have asked me.


“But I Don’t Need a Coach!”

Yes, you do. We all do.

So don’t use the word coach if you don’t like it. Use mentor, spiritual director, pastor or friend. We all need a friend, right? So use whatever title will give you permission to seek help from someone outside your own head, heart and situation. 

If I could change one habit of church leaders, and of Small Church pastors in particular, it would be this. We need to learn to stop doing ministry alone.

Doing too much by myself has been at the heart of every bad decision I’ve made in ministry.


Why Dave Jacobs?

I didn’t know Dave this time last year. We became acquainted when we connected through our interest in helping Small Church leaders. So how do I know enough about Dave Jacobs to recommend him? (And I promise I will never include anyone or any ministry in Stuff We Like without thorough knowledge of them.)

  1. I’ve read his stuff and I follow the links he recommends. It’s good, balanced and practical.
  2. He’s been a guest contributor here at and I’ve used material from one of his posts as the structure for one of my posts.
  3. I’ve been communicating with him online and over the phone for several months. He follows up and follows through.
  4. He has decades of experience pastoring healthy Small Churches and coaching Small Church pastors.
  5. He likes my book. (Gotta be honest. That can’t hurt him, right?)
  6. My wife and I have been in his home. You can hide a lot online, but not so much when someone’s in your house.
  7. We’ve had lunch together. There’s a reason the bible tells us to break bread together. You learn a lot about each other when you’re face-to-face over a meal. (Yes, coffee counts, too)
  8. I’ve had extended conversations with some of the pastors he coaches. I met two of them face-to-face last week. They’re good people and they speak very, very highly of him and and the down-to-earth help he’s given them.
  9. He coaches more by asking the right questions than by offering his own answers.
  10. When he gives advice, it’s based on a lifetime of experience and his personal knowledge of the situation. No warmed-over, pre-packaged answers here.
  11. Anyone who can spend the hours he spends every day coaching pastors on the phone and not only keep sane, but thrive on it… well, he’s either crazy or called. I’m betting on called.


What Does Dave Offer?

Here’s what Dave says about his ministry from the website homepage:

My name is Dave Jacobs and I specialize in small churches. I have almost 30 years experience in pastoring small churches. I understand the small church. But even better, I understand the small church pastor.

I’ve survived the ups and the downs of pastoring in the small church. I know the advantages and disadvantages of working in a small church. I like pastors of smaller churches. I know what it is like for you. I understand.

At Small Church Pastor you won’t necessarily find ways to grow your small church, but you will find ways to grow you! You see, it’s not about church growth, it’s about your growth.

I’m not against church growth but I am against the ways in which our Christian culture has made pastors of small churches feel insignificant and unimportant. I am against the lack of encouragement and practical resources available to small church pastors.

Monthly, over-the-phone coaching sessions are the core of what Dave does. But he also offers church consultations, curriculum, leadership training and more.

He charges for the sessions and the material (guy’s gotta eat), but his prices are very reasonable and he has people like me who sponsor him, which helps lower the price for those who need a little extra help.

Go to for more info about coaching, curriculum and more.

Subscribe to for his helpful blog.

While you’re at it, you might want to check out his Small Church Pastor Facebook page, too.

Click here for more in the Stuff We Like series

So what do you think? Have you used any of Dave’s material that you can recommend for others? Do you know of other great material for Small Churches that I can look into for future Stuff We Like features?

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