Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

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



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.




December 9th, 2015 Posted by No comments




  “And when they saw the  young child with Mary his mother, they fell down and   worshipped him…” Matthew 2:11



Once again I am letting one of my very talented children write for me. I’m sure you’ll relate to her post, previously published in the Blossom newsletter, 2015. Here to bless your day is Jana Waddell:

I had an interesting conversation with my sister the other day.  We were on a long road trip and somewhere between Portland and that long, boring stretch that happens before Idaho we ended up on the topic of worship.  Both Jenn and I love to worship.  We love to sing and play instruments and we both serve on our local worship teams.

At one point Jenn asked me how I KNEW for sure that worship is what I am called to do.

It’s interesting how much time and worry we Christians put into figuring out what we are called to do.  We stress about making sure we aren’t wasting our time doing things we aren’t called to do and we fret over wondering if we have missed our calling completely.

What if the whole concept of “being called by God” is much, much simpler?  What if we are just “called” to do what is right in front of us at the moment?  What if we are called to do many different things throughout our lives?  What if God is much less concerned about us  seeing the big picture, like he does, than he is just waiting for us to stop being paralyzed by fear and be a steward of what we have to offer?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to be flippant.  For example, worship is not something I take lightly.  To enter the presence of God is a sacred thing.  To lead          others into that same presence bears an ever greater          responsibility.  A good worship leader knows that no matter how musically talented you may be, the wrong motives and attitudes will ruin the atmosphere of              worship in a matter of seconds.

But worship is also very simply something I love to do.  For me, that’s a major starting point.  God gave me a love for something and a measure of talent to back it up.  Forgive me for being blunt but I feel like that makes my calling quite obvious!  I can’t imagine NOT worshipping.  And more than that, I’m hungry for more and more places to use what I love to do.  New doors are opening, new opportunities, new people to touch with my music.  Even when I’m not specifically playing worship songs I’m worshipping by doing what I love.

In her latest Book For the Love, a favorite author/blogger of mine, Jen Hatmaker, says: “Do your thing.  Play your note.  We are all watching and learning, moved. You are making the world kinder, more beautiful, wiser, funnier, richer, better. Give your gifts the same attention you would if it paid…how many trot out that tired cliché – ‘I’m waiting for God to open a door’ – and he is all, ‘I love you, but get going, pumpkin, because usually chasing the dream in your heart looks surprisingly like work’…you are good at something for a reason.  God designed you this way, on purpose.  It isn’t fake or a fluke or small.  These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you’ve been given, so use them.”

 At our fall retreat we talked about being Chosen to Tell.  Each of us is specifically chosen, designed, created and spiritually wired to TELL of the “wonderful works of God.”

 You are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~1 Peter 2:9 ESV.

I am chosen to tell by way of music.  And I’m absolutely certain of that.  What are you certain of?  If you are searching for your calling?  ASK!  God is the mastermind behind your gift…He is more than willing to let you in on the plan -Then go and TELL!

~ Jana Waddell


Not your average pastor’s wife

November 10th, 2015 Posted by 2 comments

pwI’ve been in ministry with Mike, my pastor/husband, for 37 years. I’ve come a long way from the naive young women I was in 1979. Along the way I decided to not only survive, but enjoy the life God brought to me. In learning to enjoy who I was and where I was, I had to leave behind misconceptions I had picked up along the way and embrace new ways of thinking. Here are some of the things I now know:

1. There is no such thing as a call to be a pastor’s wife.

The term “pastor’s wife” isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. The desire to join your husband in ministry is more probably your own call to pastoring or a gift of hospitality, mentoring, teaching or evangelism.

2. Just because a program in the church is in place, doesn’t mean it needs to remain.

Pastor’s-wife friend, Melisa, from Washington State says she and her husband spent the first four years of ministry in their little mountain town “turning off the lights.” They stopped programs people weren’t supporting, and ones not meeting the current needs in their congregation, in order to get down to the basics of what their congregation needed and could support. Just because your organization offers a program is not a mandate your church needs to be doing it. Seek God’s direction.

3. In God’s kingdom you don’t get kuddos for being married to the pastor of the largest church in town or condemnation for being married to the pastor of the smallest church either.

The size of your church isn’t indicative of your spirituality. The Bible says “some plant, some water, but God gives the increase.” Don’t waste valuable energy on numbers, concentrate on ministry.

4. You need a best friend, or two, in your church.

I’m on firm ground here since Jesus’ best friends were Peter, James and John. So feel free to seek like-minded women to encourage you and enjoy the blessing they will give you. There are those who say you shouldn’t because of the chance of hurt feelings but if you don’t flaunt your friendship, it won’t cause any more problems than the myriad of other things that people can complain about.

5. Your call is as important as your husband’s call.

This is a frightening statement even to write, but despite its truth, when wrapped in years of assumption that a call to ministry is the spiritual kingpin, you, like me, may find it hard to grasp. All gifts are bestowed by God and are equal in the Body. And using your gift is as important for you as it is for your husband to use his. For some it will be easy because your gift will mesh with pastoring, for others it will seem at times to be in opposition to his. Maybe you’re offered a promotion in another state, an opportunity somewhere else in which to use your gift. Don’t immediately subjugate your gift for his, because God who gave them to each of you and knows where He wants you to go will direct your dance if you will allow him.

6. You, by virtue, of being married to the pastor, are not equipped or obligated to perform tasks that the previous pastor’s wife filled or ones in which members assume you are equipped to do.

If you’re not trained, you do not, nor should, be offering counseling. That is not to say you can’t lend a sympathetic ear and pray with them, but don’t step beyond what you are equipped. The same goes for leading the choir, or heading up a multitude of programs. Your position in this particular body should be directed by God and carry the support of yourself and your husband.

7. Avoid the pedestal.

Everyone likes to be admired, however, the only allowable vertical relationship is between us and God.  Don’t allow people to see you as perfect or above them, or better than they. It doesn’t help them and is deadly for you.

8. There will always be expectations for you from others. 

This is true and you cannot stop others from having them, you can only stop yourself from trying to fulfill them. I don’t know what ones you’ll encounter because it varies from denomination and culture, but because someone assumes you will act or perform in a certain way should not be a sentence for you. Neither does this mean that you don’t owe your church respect, that you get to simply be me. Some expectations will not hurt us: certain appropriate dress for services, etc. Learn to discern which you should give into with good grace and which to graciously not follow.

9. If you are blessed with children, concentrate on them, not the church.

Your husband, by virtue of his job, will be at the beck-and-call of the church, so don’t make your children emotional orphans by doing the same. No, they do not need to be the sole focus, but don’t assume that serving the church is more godly than being a mom. It isn’t. A better compromise is to invite them into ministry with you and your husband, let them learn the joy of serving others. It will produce benefits for later life.

10. Enjoy yourself

I never wanted to marry a pastor because I’d never met a happy pastor’s wife. Sad? Yes indeed. But if this is the life God gave you, take the role in your hands and mold it into a life that you can enjoy and in which you can flourish. Like I said, if pastor’s wife isn’t in the Bible, then the possibilities are wide open.