This morning I read a blog post from another large Church pastor telling me all the things I need to do in order for my Church to grow bigger. I appreciate the words these pastors write and preach in an effort to help me. I really do have an enormous desire to see people come to the Lord and the Church I lead to grow, but I need to say some things that has been on my mind for a long time. I lead a small Church in a small town and I have done so most of my life. I think I have a few insights that you might not read anywhere else.
1. In my community growth is much, much harder than you might realize. I live in a town of 6,000 in the summer and about 3,500 in the winter. There are 28 Church in my town within a 10 minute drive. It is hard for me to even make non-Christian contacts, let alone get them to Church.
2. In my Church, I have more to do than you might have in yours. The Church I lead averages 50 people in attendance and every person is vital. Recently the person who cleans the building had shoulder surgery and guess who picked up the duty? I did. I come in on Friday and clean the building so that the place looks nice for the visitors we might get on Sunday. That is just one example; I take care of the bulletin, serving rotation, and numerous other activities that others may never do as Pastor. This fact limits some of my ministry dreams. Let me be clear, I am not complaining just stating the facts.
3. My role is more Pastor than visionary leader. I am preacher, teacher, counselor, hospital chaplain, marriage chaplain, funeral chaplain, crisis counselor and there to help you move. I spend time with people in a role that is very personal and up close. I am not casting vision to hundreds but holding the hands of just a few.
I am fearful that too many pastors are getting discouraged by large Church preachers than encouraged. I am afraid that more pastors are hurting their congregation in an effort to make it grow. I am extremely nervous that people are getting a bad impression of the Church and the Lord because we are trying to be something that we simple are not.
I am a small Church pastor and I care about people. My ministry is done in a context that is different than other people – and I am okay with that!