When Small Is Your Only Option (A Video and a Podcast)

Insect on thumbThere are a lot of reasons healthy Small Churches stay small that have nothing to do with lack of faith, wrong principles, laziness, settling for less or incompetence. I’ve written about some of those reasons here already.

Here’s another reason.

Sometimes churches stay small because small is their only option.

Today, I’m presenting two posts – one podcast and one video – that speak to that reality.

They come from my recent trip to minister to US Army Chaplains in Germany and Small Church pastors in Croatia.


 When Faith Feels Like Failure (Video)

Croatia sermon video

The video is of the message I delivered, with the help of an interpreter named Marco, at a church in Croatia. They meet in a beautiful 150-year-old synagogue. (I’m the one in the suit, which I hauled through Europe to honor their culture. If I look uncomfortable in it, it’s because I am.)

In this message, from the Croatian church’s YouTube channel, I tell the story of Caleb from Numbers 13-14. Caleb is one of my all-time heroes. His story is not very celebrated, but it should be because it’s a critical one.

The entire history of the Old Testament hinges on Caleb’s courage. His faithfulness teaches us how to stand strong when we find ourselves in a very small minority, bucking a very large and insistent crowd. Then Caleb stayed standing even while his biggest moment of faith felt like a 40-year-long failure.

My message starts at 36:00 and lasts for 30 minutes. Then, at about 1:21, I share about 9 minutes on The Grasshopper Myth, at the pastor’s request.


“Don’t They Get It?” (Podcast)

200Churches logoThe podcast is my second one with Jeff & Jonny, the self-proclaimed “Batman & Robin of Small Church Ministry podcasts” from 200Churches.com. We plan to do more together in the future. (Click here for our previous podcast)

In this 34-minute podcast, I answer their questions on what I learned about Small Church ministry while in Germany and Croatia.

On the US Army Base in Schweinfurt, Germany, small is not only their reality, it’s their mandate. The base is closing and so is their church. Yet ministers have come in from America, preaching “bigger is better”, completely missing the point of what our brave soldiers and chaplains are under orders to do. 

In Croatia, it’s the same thing. American ministers have told them their churches would be bigger if they had more faith. But what I witnessed were some of the most faith-filled people I’ve ever met.

This is a blunt conversation about these important issues. I hope it will help shed light on the challenges faced by many of you who work in places where small is your only option.


So what do you think? Have you ever faced a challenge where small was your only option?

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(Insect on Thumb photo from 生活童話 • Flickr • Creative Commons)

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2 thoughts on “When Small Is Your Only Option (A Video and a Podcast)”

  1. One correction here Karl – we are the self-proclaimed Batman and Robin of small church ministry… but of MINISTRY PODCASTS! We are one of thousands of superhero’s in small church ministry. But we ARE the Batman and Robin of ministry podcasts! 🙂

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