Day: December 1, 2006

Our Town

(This post makes less sense now that I have a new header.  But, you’ll get the idea of the kind of town we live in.) 

That’s our town at the top of this page — Chatham, Virginia.   If you look closely you can see Chatham Books, our local bookshop.  Our weekly newspaper, The Star Tribune is down the block.  M&W Florist is in between.  The space with the striped awnings is where we host Soundcheck, our monthly open mic night for teens.  Continue reading “Our Town”

My Five Rules for Pastoring a Small Church

Most of my ministry has been in small churches and I love them!  But I grew up in a church with over 500 in worship, so my first small church pastorate was almost a disaster.  Out of that experience, I quickly developed some rules for pastoring a small church:

Rule #1:  Realize a small church is not a miniature big church.  Remember “Mini-Me” in Austin Powers — an exact clone of the big guy, only smaller?  I learned quickly that small churches aren’t “MiniMes.”  Worship, decision-making, pastoral care, and just about everything else in a small church is different from large church ministry. 

Rule #2:  Assume all your members are related.  I discovered this rule one day after venting my frustration with one member to another.  His four word reply is still ringing in my head — “Yeah, she’s my cousin.” 

Rule #3.  Don’t underestimate your members.  Small church members can be just as gifted, committed, and excited as large-church members — sometimes more so.  Many people actually prefer a small church because they can find a place of service and get to know people more quickly.

Rule #4.  Don’t overestimate the pastor’s importance.  Lyle Schaller says small churches are member-driven.  Pastors may come-and-go, but members keep the church running.  Plug-in rather than charge-in is my approach now.

Rule #5.  Don’t be in a hurry to leave.  While pastoring my first small church, I couldn’t wait to move up to a larger congregation.  Looking back, I realize that those folks saw my restlessness, but loved me anyway.  I wished later that I had stayed longer.

Today I’m still pastoring a small church.  Small churches fit me, and hopefully, I fit them better now, too.