This morning I was again reminded why we created 200churches.com back in January of this year. In a leadership email I received this morning, I read about one church that sent out 7,000 volunteers for a weekend of service, in lieu of their regular worship services, and another church that started in 2005 with 6 people, that now runs over 3,000 people. Thank God for those stories. Truly, thank God!
Those kinds of emails are expected, right? I mean, who wants to read about a weekend worship service where 74 people showed up, and a new volunteer greeted and welcomed people for the first time? We don’t write about those happenings. Wait a minute… we do write about those experiences here at 200churches.com.
It’s too easy for 200church pastors to read emails like that and come away with a significant sense of failure or guilt at not achieving the same kinds of results. To be fair, we have to be mature, grow up, and rejoice in what God is doing in the largest of churches around the world and in our country, state, and even community. Praise God! We should pray for them, encourage them, and even send people their way if we feel it would serve them better.
It’s easy to rejoice at the success of a smaller church. It’s easy to partner with, or send people to, a church that is smaller than our own. That’s easy. It’s another story to rejoice with a church across town that has doubled in attendance over the same time period that our own has decreased. I can hear my expressive friends saying “Come on! That’s right! Preach it Brother! Hello! Holler!” You know it’s true. We want smaller churches to...
...partner with us in ministry events, but are not as happy to have a larger church ask us to partner with them.
So while we admit, as 200church pastors, that we must rise above petty jealousies and church envy, we also want to say – there are huge reasons to rejoice in what God is doing in smaller churches! While we read of the churches that rocket into the thousands in a few short years, we want 200churches.com to be a place where a smaller church pastor can find camaraderie, encouragement, and inspiration for the journey of pastoring a small to moderate size church in what is likely a less populated community.
With that in mind, let me share one story from our 200church. Recently Barb and her husband Jack (not their real names) visited our church. They were at their wit’s end. They had visited numerous churches within a half hour radius. They were tired of looking for the church they could not find. They had been hurt at a church several years ago, and had been drifting for years, trying to find a place where they fit. They were ready to give up, but Barb told God in a prayer of desperation that she did not want that, and asked Him to please deliver them out of their malaise, and into a good church.
They visited our church and have never left. That was back in early February. Barb got involved right away doing what she loves to do, and is gifted to do, paint murals. She is on her second room already and our Children’s Ministry is benefiting from her joyful ministry of art. They are in a small group, and feeling very much at home, and loved, in our church. They were discouraged, now they are encouraged to be active members of the Body of Christ. That’s a story that makes me really happy!
My friend baptized over 60 people this past weekend at his Philadelphia church. We will baptize two people in a couple weeks. Do I wish we were baptizing 60 people? Yes. Is the comparison apples and oranges? Absolutely! So, rejoice in what God is doing in your church – and value your leadership and pastoring of your people as much as He does!
On the podcast this week, we are joined by Ryan, who pastors a church of 40-50 people. He talks about the pros and cons of small church ministry and what it’s like being a General Practitioner in the local church. Ryan is a great young pastor who loves and serves God by loving and serving his people. See you on The 200churches Podcast on Wednesday!
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