I (Jeff) talked with an old college buddy today. It was soooo good! We were in the same dorm on campus a mere 30 years ago. When I got married, he was pastoring a small church near our campus, so my wife and I attended there. I had no idea I would be the pastor of that church within months.
My friend decided it was time to move to a different ministry. We were just college students, and he was graduated, so – time to go! After he left they asked me to take over for a while. Yeah. For three years! It was a small church. The smallest crowd I had was two people… plus me. The largest? Fifty! The lowest of lows and the highest of highs – ah, the memories!
Since then, my friend has served in at least four churches, two as senior pastor. He took a church of 150 to 500, but then experienced an ending that was not happy. No sin, just one of those ministry stories that ends tough.
I talked with another pastor the other day who planted a church and “grew it” to over 300. Today it’s at 100 and he wonders how he should feel about it all.
Another pastor I recently visited with said 100 in attendance would be pushing the walls out! Jonny and I are happy to be pushing up past 200 in our church these days, but not consistently. Of course, our church is a special situation. (aren’t they all??)
Are you crazy yet? Or have blogs like ours and NewSmallChurch.com encouraged you to think that maybe you are just alright after all? I think I’m not crazy anymore, no longer like the walking dead, fixated on a number and staggering mindlessly toward it. I think I’m learning how to just love God and love my people. I love my wife and kids too, and in moments of weakness, I even feel some semblance of fondness for Jonny.
Soon on the podcast, we will be joined by Karl “The Shark” Vaters from NewSmallChurch.com. We’ll be talking with him about the subject of his second Essential post titled “Your Church IS Big Enough.” That's an obnoxious title, right?
I mean, if there is one person in your community without Christ, then your church ISN’T big enough, right? Well, here I think is a perfect time to decide what the word “is” is. Really now. Today your church IS big enough. Tomorrow, if a person is seeking God and attends your church for the first time, it’s STILL big enough!
Now I’m confused. So – I’m looking forward to talking with Karl and Jonny about this soon. We’ll be looking to drill down on this a little. I’m looking for some perspective that goes deeper than the title, but something that we all need to hear and learn. Because even though we think we’re okay, we must always remind ourselves whose church it is, who we are, and why in the world we are even doing this thing called “pastoring”. Were we crazy or what signing up for this life?!
Hey, have a phenomenal weekend! And please, I will if you will – on purpose, intentionally, and with firm resolve – LOVE your people. They need you pastor, that’s why God gave you to them. Now LOVE them with all your heart. Be extra nice to them this weekend. Stop to say hi, give a touch, and a sincere smile. Or, maybe just STOP. BE with them. Hey, we get to do this – we will all have people to teach, encourage, challenge, and love this weekend. Let's go for it!
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