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Why your church is small …and you’ll be surprised to know that it’s probably not your fault

January 3rd, 2016 Posted by No comments

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Your church is small because….

 

 

  1. It’s small. People who visit a small church usually quickly move on. In a small church they cannot hide in the pew and enjoy basking in God’s presence. It would become quickly apparent that they only go to church for what they can get out of it, not what they’re willing to give. So they move on.
  2. Your budget isn’t big enough. You probably struggle to support your pastor. And after lights, heat, and curriculum bills are paid, the coffers are empty. Therefore, those wonderful video-casts and singing groups and latest speakers are outside of your budget. You’re not trending.
  3. The crazies show up. I was at a pastors’ workshop with former Pastoral Ministry director, H.B. London, for Focus on the Family when he was asked what he felt was the biggest reason between large and small churches. And he said “the crazies show up in small churches.” In other words, churches attract fringe people — people who live outside the margins of normalcy. And they also attract ego-driven people looking for places to extend their influence. He felt the percentage was the same for any size church, however, one crazy among sixty shows up more easily than ten in six hundred.
  4. The music may be substandard. Now not always. We have usually pastored small churches and at times we had worship leaders who were way above the norm, other times we had me to play the piano. Nuff said.
  5. No youth group – or children’s program or single’s group. Of all the complaints, this one is actually the most understandable. Christian parents must decide what their family needs in a church. They may feel that extra programs are an important part of raising committed Christians. While I would hope they would catch the vision that they could be the one spearheading the program they are looking for, I am not a cock-eyed optimist. So you have to accept that a small church without all the bells and whistles will not meet everyone’s needs and you’ll have to bid them adieux.

So much angst is wasted on worry that our church isn’t growing numerically. This year, stop it. Don’t let the accuser nip at your heels, making you second-guess your work. So much useless energy is wasted on church-growth campaigns. Accept that God has you in a small vineyard for this time.

Maybe your town will have a growth-explosion in the future, and maybe the mega-church in the next town won’t feel led to start up a satellite church but allow you to reap the benefits of more people.

Maybe, just maybe, some of those visitors will be like the family I will forever love who attended our service one Sunday morning with their three children. They had just moved to our town from California, and I knew we were sunk, because everyone knows California churches are huge and we weren’t. But lo and behold, they came back and stayed. The family had discussed the church over lunch and their son had suggested, “Maybe we should choose this one, it looks like they could use more people and our help.” So they did and we were mightily blessed by their support and involvement.

God bless your hands as you labor in His vineyard in 2016.

Janice

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Reaching Out

September 6th, 2009 Posted by 2 comments

I have worked outside our home and church for a large portion of our married life. And except for four years with Focus on the Family and three teaching in a Christian school, it has always been in the secular workplace. If you work in a secular workplace, you too may experience the same ambivalent feelings that I did for many years. My place of choice would always have been safe inside the walls of the church I love, but since circumstances forced me out there I longed to share God’s love with the unbelievers I met every day. Unfortunately, the only method I knew was to invite them to church.

I have this mental picture of me leaning out from the safe walls of my church building/life, waving to everyone, “I have Good News for you!” Is it any wonder nobody ever accepted my invitation?
I continued in my sincere desire to share God’s love, with the same fruitless results, until I learned to build relationships. I began to invest my life in the people I met. I had compartmentalized my life — This is me 40 hours a week with my co-workers, versus This is me after work with my family and my church. I hadn’t realized the two worlds could co-mingle. It took me a long time to realize I would never influence anyone for God’s Kingdom with my us/them mentality. That is why God commanded, “Go into the entire world and make disciples…” “Go into the highway and byways and compel them to come in.”
Because we invest so much of our time and resources into a church building or a church program, we have a hard time wrapping our brains around the truth that there isn’t anything intrincisally spiritual about them. Their only value is the truth of the message and the people who carry them.
As a pastor’s wife we are often happy living in our safe environment. We know church people. We understand them. For all their dysfunction, they are safe. But even pastors’ wives are called to the Great Commission, and most of us hide inside our churches, consumed with caring for the flock.
I challenge you to build one relationship with an unbeliever. It will be good for you, it may have eternal changes for them. My husband’s focus for years has been to train our people to recognize
that each person has a circle of influence –a group of people only they can influence for God.
Open your eyes. Ask God to point you to someone with whom you need to build a relationship. Remember these small important points:
1. Relationships take time. You will spend lots of hours with them without preaching. As
St. Francis said “Preach the word at all time, if necessary use words.”
2. This relationship is not an evangelistic campaign, i.e: attack and conquer, take a long view
and realize you’re in it for the long haul.
3. Enjoy yourself. This person will be a friend for life.
4. If you’re not sure where to start, look next door. Most of us have unsaved neighbors.
Scout out the coffee shop you frequent, the PTA, or the soccer mom on your kid’s team.
Janice
Copyright 2009 Brynwood Publishing, All Rights Reserved
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