The Common Factor in All Effective Small Churches

Many small churches try to look and act like big churches. I’ve seen churches of 20 with multiple committees, boards, departments, and ministries that you would only expect to find in churches three times their size.

If you pastor a smaller church you have to be comfortable with the fact that you cannot offer the ministries and services that a larger church can. That’s ok. If you try to do everything the big church down the road is doing three things will happen.

  • First, you will burn out and your people will burn out.
  • Second, you will end up doing a bunch of things poorly.
  • Third, you will fail to take advantage of the things a smaller church can do that the larger churches find difficult to do. For example:

Smaller churches can provide an environment where everybody knows each other. Visitors can be enfolded more quickly in a smaller church. In a smaller church the members feel they have an accessible pastor. Smaller churches provide people opportunities to serve in areas that would not be available to them if they were attending a larger church.

Here’s the bottom line… Effective small churches do a few things well. If you don’t have the resources and leadership to start up some new ministry wait until you do. Yes, people looking for a youth group for Johnny will not stay at your church if you cannot offer this, but people are going to leave anyways. Figure out what you can do well and focus on that, making no apologies for what you can’t do. Maybe all you can offer right now is good teaching, half-way decent music/worship, one home group, and some warm and friendly people who care about each other. That’s ok. It’s ok to be an effective, healthy smaller church.

What are some of the other advantages of a smaller church?