Eight months before we started 200churches.com, I was introduced to another pastor who was visiting in our town. A girl in this pastor’s church was graduating from college, and the pastor traveled four hours to our college town for her graduation.
We had a great conversation over graduation party food – celery, carrots, ranch dip… you know. I talked with this pastor about small church ministry, elder boards, finding volunteers, Andy Stanley’s latest leadership book, and all of the other things pastors talk about. It was a very enjoyable conversation where I realized that we both thought a lot alike.
One thing was interesting for me though. This pastor was different. Growing up in a very fundamentalist church, I would not have talked to a pastor like this. I had never met one. I knew they existed, but I honestly didn't believe in them. The interesting reality that day for me was that this pastor was a woman. Gulp!
The debate on women in ministry has been going on for quite a while, and will continue until Jesus returns. There are good, godly people on both sides of the issue. Our denomination does not ordain women as pastors or elders. A church down the street from us does. The wonderful thing about the body of Christ is that we can be different, look different, think differently, and interpret the Bible differently, but all still be brothers and sisters in Christ, part of the same family, who will one day sit at the feet of the same Lord Jesus Christ worshiping and adoring him – together!
One of the absolute joys of producing the 200churches Podcast is that we get to talk to so many different people, who hold one thing in common – they love and appreciate small church ministry just as much as large church ministry. Our purpose is not to indoctrinate other pastors with our statement of belief, so we don’t debate doctrine, church polity, or platform dress (Jonny is definitely a hipster, and me… well, never mind). We talk about being pastors of God’s people, and we strive to provide ministry encouragement to pastors of small churches.
Pastor Cynthia Moore has served the same rural church for 20 years. She loves her people, and they love her. I introduced her with Monday's blog post. I attended a Promise Keepers event this year with men from her church. Her husband and almost twenty other guys had committed to attending this event and growing together as men of God. This was a great group of guys!
We talked about their church, and the ministry they have been doing there. I was impressed. A few months after we started 200churches, I knew I would have to invite Cynthia on the podcast someday. She is the real deal when it comes to small church ministry. She, and other pastors like her, are the ones who never get the attention, notoriety, or affirmation they really deserve. They are the unsung heroes, serving faithfully year after year. Quietly. Unnoticed down a gravel road.
Their churches have dozens, not hundreds. Small buildings with modest furnishings, not mega-churches with cutting edge technology. They have people who are close and committed, with kids who grow up knowing that the body of Christ is like a family.
The girl who graduated grew up in Cynthia’s church. Cynthia is the only pastor this college grad has ever known. She loves and respects Pastor Cynthia. She loves the Lord because of her parents’ love for God, and her pastor’s teaching and example. This girl has been dating my oldest son for five years. She is in her second year of medical school and will be a doctor. She will perhaps be the mother of my future grandchildren. Am I thankful a lady named Cynthia has faithfully taught the Word of God, and shared the gospel, in this church for twenty years? You better believe I am!
So to all the small church pastors who live down a gravel road, receiving no recognition, acclaim, or reward – this episode is for YOU! Thank you for serving Jesus quietly, and loving his sheep fervently! Thank you Cynthia, for being a good and faithful servant!
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