The Quality of Small Church Ministry

When I moved to Alaska to preach the Church was pretty small. We only averaged 20-25 people each week in worship. By my first summer we had grown to 35-40 people each week. God was using our little Church to reach out to numerous people in spite of our size.

One Sunday morning that summer I was standing at the back door talking to people as they were leaving. We had several out-of-town guests that day as we often did during the summer in Alaska. One of the men grabbed my hand and said, “Thanks for the wonderful service today.” I replied “You’re welcome, we do our best.” Then he said something that stuck itself in my brain. He said, “When we saw the Church was small we didn’t expect much, but you had a great sermon and service.”

That experience was one of those clarifying moments for me. Most people think that small Churches are places where ministry happens poorly. I mean, if you are any good as a preacher you should move on to a larger Church. If you are small then you are able to get away with doing everything with less than excellence. I mean, “we are doing our best” is an acceptable excuse for low quality.

I do NOT believe that a small Church has to do ministry poorly. If you can fix it and make it better then by all means make it better. God deserves our best not excuses for why we can’t do it better. This is true no matter the size of your Church.

One of the ways that God has used me to help Churches in their ministry through the years is by simply improving the quality of everything. There is no excuse for a dirty rooms, peeling paint and poor facilities. If there aren’t many musicians then do the best with what you have. Usually that means extra planning, preparing and practicing. I can still prepare the best sermon possible each week. Printed material should be of the highest quality you can afford…and proofread. There is no acceptable reason for ministry done poorly, whether your Church is small or not. Low quality is usually the result of apathy more than finances.

Each week people arrive at our Church expecting to be disappointed. They are looking for an excuse not to return. They are looking for people who really don’t care and they can see it in everything we do.

How about this Sunday we surprise them with a great Church experience?

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