Today, on episode 60 of the 200churches Podcast, we talk again with our friend Karl "The Shark" Vaters about his mission statement at NewSmallChurch.com, which is, Encouraging, Connecting, And Equipping Innovative Small Church Leaders. This is the third of his 12 Essentials blog posts, which he tells new visitors to his blog to read first.
On this episode, we really talk about all things small church pastor, with an edge toward encouraging pastors of small churches to stand tall, and understand the impact that is theirs as they pastor their church - NO MATTER THE SIZE! In small churches all across the country people are coming to faith in Jesus, having been loved by his Body. I have two quick stories for you, the first one about me...
[These stories are not included in this podcast episode, you'll have to listen to that for yourself - it's a good one - but these stories are intended to remind you of the importance of small church ministry, one of the things we do in this episode.]
When I was 8 years old, my neighbor lady was in cahoots with a couple in our neighborhood to make an impact for Jesus. The ladies started a Ladies Bible Study, and in the summer they had a kid's club in one of their homes one afternoon a week. My neighbor, Mrs. Bennet, invited me to come. I said no the first two weeks, until I heard about a tire swing, cookies, and red Kool-Aid. That's when I decided I might be able to go!
To make a long story short, I heard the Gospel that summer of 1971, and believed in God, and the message of Christ. That small church is still stumbling along, with about 150 people. It has had some ups and many downs over the decades. But I was reached there before the church was even formed, and I have been a pastor for 27 years. I have four kids who love Jesus and who have and will have families of their own that serve the LORD.
That small, tiny group of adults, that fit into a living room, changed my life forever. Think your church can do the same? I think so!
Story #2 - Several weeks ago I caught two little boys, an 8 year old and a 7 year old, cousins, wandering our lobby. They said they were just "looking around". I told them they could not play in the church when no one was there. They said they weren't playing, just "looking around." I told them that when kids their age "look around" an empty church, it counts as "playing". LOL
As I spoke with them, I was very, very aware that how I related to them could well determine their future relationships with God. They recently moved into an apartment across the street. I invited them to our Wednesday night Kid's Program which would happen in less than an hour. They came, and have been coming for the past five weeks.
It occurred to me that ten years ago, when I arrived at my church, I met a little 8 year old boy in our neighborhood. Now, ten years later, Luis is graduating from high school. I, and our church, have been a big part of his life. He loves the Lord, and has not fallen to the temptations that lure teenagers today. After I met those boys, I thought maybe God is giving me two more for the next ten years?
Perhaps God will use us so that their lives will be changed?? That's what our church, and YOUR small church are all about - CHANGING LIVES as we introduce people of all ages to Jesus!
We hope you enjoy this episode and are encouraged to bring it strong and stand tall at your 200church this week!
FIND KARL VATERS >>>
You can find Karl on Twitter @KarlVaters. You can buy his book, The Grasshopper Myth here on Amazon. You can find him on his blog at NewSmallChurch.com
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