The Small Church Pastor and the Holidays

One thing is for sure about Christmas – it comes around every year. There are times Christmas holidays can play havoc on the calendar. A dinner, family gatherings, local events, church programs, shopping, cooking, giving presents and much, much more. But there may be some common sense ways to enjoy the holidays without ending up in the ER from “December overload.”

Keep Your Calendar Handy. There is not a doubt the holidays are hectic, so make it easier on yourself by comparing your calendar with your wife’s calendar. Our department leaders meet the week before Thanksgiving and synchronize our church calendars. Most times and dates are set a month ago but with school events, local events and family schedules, but there may be some late changes to the December calendar. The Key Word is Flexible.

Change Your Morning Routine. This may not work for everyone but personally, I like getting in the office by 5:00 or at the latest, 6:00 in the morning to write, pray, to read my Bible and to take a peek at my calendar for the day. My home is close, so I slip back to the house about 9:00, for breakfast and a cup of coffee with my wife. This is our “talk time,” which is important as family events seem to “pop up” quickly, especially since three of our grandchildren celebrate birthdays during the month of December. The Key Word is Communicate

Enjoy the Moment. A small church Pastor must plan personal time by selecting a day that seems to be a light schedule to take a moment to enjoy the Christmas lights, have a date night with your wife, or a short break at your favorite coffee shop. Grab a book to read for thirty minutes, spend more time at the gym or call an old friend to wish him, Merry Christmas, are some other ideas. Hug your grandkids, tell stories and make memories, and enjoy the moment. The Key Word is Relax.

Endeavor to be Spiritually Sensitive. As a small church Pastor, I am painfully aware of the busyness of the season but there are numerous people who suffer from anxiety issues, depression, frustrations, family issues, sickness, and financial stress during the holidays. Jesus is the Reason for the Season and we must be spiritually sensitive to families who are hurting and the elderly who are lonely, the list goes on. The small church Pastor may be needed more during the holidays than at any other time of the year, plan your sermons to bring encouragement and healing to the hurting and hopeless. We are not called to simply pray for people but pray with people. Care, concern, and comfort are necessary during the holiday season. Let God use you as you go about the community and lead people to lean upon the arms of Jesus. The Key Word is Prayerful.

God bless ALL our small church pastors – all of heaven is behind you!
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

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The Small Church Pastor and Tomorrow

Several months ago I gathered every young adult in our rural church and asked them one question, “What will this church look like in seven years?” “In seven years your  children will be teenagers and 10% – 20% of the church will pass away or move away.” We were reminded by reports, “10% of United States churches will close.”

 

Tomorrow increasingly became important to us.

 

One middle-aged woman commented, “We shouldn’t concern ourselves about the future, God will take care of that, we must take care of today.” The statement bothered me, God does take care of today and tomorrow, however, scripture cautions and duty demands us to prepare for tomorrow.
With the input of our young adults, we developed a seven-year plan for teaching, reaching and growing in our rural church. When Joshua crossed over the Jordan River, God commanded, place 12 stones on the inside the Jordan and the outside of the Jordan, as a testimony to future generations. (Joshua 4:6-7). We intended, by the grace of God to create a testimony for future generations.

 

We taught our young adults, leadership principles, such as communication, relationships, determination, and giving. Our young adults set up and clean up in the fellowship hall for various gatherings, they served Thanksgiving meals to the homeless and poor, they volunteered for open positions and gave to several projects. IF YOU DON’T TEACH IT – THEY WON’T REACH IT
We planned a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program in a large room of the local civic center inviting other young adults to come. The results would be twofold, we would gain information about finances and meet other young adults struggling with the same issues, for the purpose of introducing them to Jesus Christ and to invite them to our church. IF YOU DON’T GET OUT OF THE BOX–THOSE WHO LIVE OUT OF THE BOX WON’T RESPOND.
We created a young adult dinner for fellowship and brainstorming on vision, purpose and planning our outreach calendar, (we desired a regional church instead of a rural church). We became partners with the local school and created ministries to area children. Our Bible Quiz teams grew, almost doubled, when we invited the community to take part. (We chose Bible Quiz to develop a discipleship for future generations). IF YOU ARE NOT EXTERNALLY FOCUSED YOU WILL BE INTERNALLY FOCUSED.
We became more interwoven, instead of compartmentalized. Our children’s groups incorporated the elderly, our young adults and elderly served together, side by side, in various outreaches, fellowships, and ministries. Just like Nehemiah did when they rebuilt the wall, “I even set the people after their families.” (Nehemiah 4:13). IF YOU ARE NOT INTERWOVEN YOU WILL BECOME COMPARTMENTALIZED.

Prayer groups began prayer before every morning service, asking for God’s help and for the Holy Spirit to move in our church and in our community. Even though the group has been small at times, it definitely is one of the most important things we do on a weekly basis.  IF YOU DON’T PRAY ABOUT IT – IT WON’T HAPPEN.
A disclaimer may be necessary:  this took months – not weeks and two families left because the church was changing. Yes, it was, no longer intrinsic but extrinsic. Our missions, benevolence and outreach finances grew, our community outreach to schools, the needy, and the poor expanded. Instead of people asking, “What is the church doing for me?” A good majority of the congregation asked, “What am I doing for God?” This is difficult, not magical and not “bought in” by everyone but it’s part of the seven-year projection. The wins have been substantial and we have just started. It is still a work in progress and may not work for everyone but we are still trying to influence this region for God.

 
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

The Small Church Pastor and Outreach

When it comes to outreach, it tends to be a no-brainer for the small church pastor. We know we should; we want to and we see the needs. Reaching out to the community includes two directions. Event Outreach or Relation Outreach. Event Outreach tends to “make a splash,” with a gospel singing, a fun-filled children’s day or a partnership with a public school. Often, the expense and the work involved make these events “once or twice a year.”
The other, Relation Outreach, is on a personal level. Giving groceries to a needy family, supplying needy items to a family whose home has burned, or carrying a snack bag into the ICU waiting room for wearied family members. Some churches have provided a Thanksgiving meal to a needy family or supplied Christmas gifts to a poverty-stricken family.

 
Both outreaches are what I call, “seed planting.” There may not be quick results but the influence is long lasting. Every small church wants to create, what I call, “positive gossip.” When you reach out to families with events or assisting families you are “seed planting,” and creating “positive gossip,” and as weeks roll by, families remember the generosity and kindness of the rural church. Your goal is NOT Sunday attendance but to build long-lasting relationships.

 
How can the small church serve our community?

 
DETERMINE THE NEED. While still in my twenties, a well-known pastor of a growing church, Tommy Barnett, made this statement, “Find a need and fill it.” This is a strong motivation for finding the most efficient means of reaching our rural areas and community. Some churches have a food pantry open one day a week, others give away coats during the cold seasons, and some churches supply single mothers with Christmas presents. One great outreach in the community has been the “Mother’s Day Out.” Where the church provides child care and provides financial assistance for the “single mom,” to a nail salon, beauty shop and maybe, even get her a massage and some shopping gift cards. This is a relation based outreach and likewise, meets a need.

 
DETERMINE THE COST. Cost efficiency is necessary for the small church. First, express the vision. Explain in detail the need for the next outreach. Secondly, spell out the cost for each stage. The overall cost may seem overwhelming but breaking up the cost in bite-sized pieces recognizes even the smallest gifts. Thirdly, explain “why.” Why would we want to help a single mom? Why would we want to provide Christmas to a struggling family? Even Scrooge will participate in an offering to help a family in desperate need. Fourthly, start early. Catching people off guard will often give an undesirable response. Start advertising and collecting funds beforehand.

 
DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. The most common complaint among small church pastors has been, “We don’t have enough volunteers to do an outreach, but much is determined by “how we said it” rather than “what we said.”

 

Don’t say this, “We need several volunteers for our Christmas outreach this year.”
Say this, “God has given us an incredible opportunity to change a single mother’s life. We only need two women to volunteer to purchase the needed items. And, we need two volunteers (maybe, teenagers) to volunteer to watch her children on a Thursday night from 6:00 to 9:00.”
Don’t say, “We are taking an offering for the needy in our community.”
Say this, “We will be receiving an offering through the next two weeks for a single mother in our community who is in need of assistance for herself and her two children.”
Don’t say, “We are collecting gifts for needy children.”
Say, “We are collecting $150 for a bicycle and a doll and baby carriage for a boy and a girl depending on us for their Christmas this year.”
You may have a better way to express the need to your congregation but when you detail the need, explain why and put dollar signs on the need, the people will open up their heart and their wallet.

 

PEOPLE WHO WON’T GIVE GENERALLY WILL OFTEN GIVE SPECIFICALLY

 

DETERMINE TO PRAY ABOUT IT. Mention the need often, making it a matter of prayer. It concerns God about the needs of people in our community, involve God in the outreach process. Prayer is a change maker. Prayer makes a difference. Charge the church to become involved in praying for the needs throughout the community. Make this a yearlong prayer request, post needs. While the church may not be able to meet every need–the church can effectively and efficiently meet the needs of some.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

The Small Church Pastor and Church Attendance

Several pastors this week were admitting failing to maintain steady church attendance. Each one had experienced low attendance over the last few months and were concerned.

“What is wrong with my people, they use every excuse they can find to miss church?”
“We had a great outreach on Saturday but had our lowest attendance on Sunday.”
“Do people even care about faithfulness anymore?”
“We need our musicians, singers, and greeters to be at their post but they continue to miss and don’t even let me know they will be absent – what am I doing wrong?”             “When you pastor a church of less than 100 every person counts.”

Even though pastors have taught on faithfulness, pastors are struggling with a variety of lame excuses. From “the cat had kittens” to “my nose was running.” One person just “needed a day of rest,” after spending the day at a Fall Festival. “It’s like the church is at the bottom of the list,” a Pastor moaned. One light-hearted pastor quipped, “Well, at least this church is going down slower than the last one I pastored.”

But doesn’t attendance, faithfulness and spiritual growth matter? Yes, it does but let’s look at some of the problems with church attendance.

1. THE CHURCH IS LOSING MEMBERS – I started with the worst scenario. When members of your church are leaving disgruntled this is devastating to a Pastor who has been trying to do his best but couldn’t heal the rift. Prayer and fasting are mandated in such moments and a week in a secluded location can sharpen your leadership abilities in this time of crises. Show the remaining congregation strength and security by reassuring your followers and by being honest and hopeful.

2. THE ATTENDANCE IS LOW – There will be seasons of highs and lows brought about by vacations, health reasons, and holidays plus, in rural areas, harvest time. Pray and stay encouraged. Keep in touch with your absentees. No matter where you pastor or who you pastor, there will be absenteeism.

3. UNFAITHFULNESS – There will always be certain somebodies who treat church attendance as a guest instead of a member. Absenteeism is in every church and the unfaithful have the lamest excuses. Not surprising, many Baby Boomers interpret faithfulness as Sunday Morning attendance on every other Sunday. To add to the problem, unfaithfulness hurts the church finances because the unfaithful members rarely catch up on their tithe giving.

4. PLANNED ACTIVITIES – Many events are being planned on Sundays from Family Reunions, Birthday Parties, and Concerts and even, shopping. With the church being live streamed, multiple services throughout the week and online Bible Studies, it has become much easier to stay at home. Reading a devotional has been equated with listening to the Pastor preach the Word of God. Maybe the church needs fewer activities but more mission mandated activities.

5. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – Attendance is not the measuring stick of the Pastor’s success level. Many pastors are great men of God but lack a support system around them. Yes, spiritual growth and church health are anemic when faithfulness to the House of God is not taught but a pastor shouldn’t beat himself up because people have lost their desire. Preach the Word, stay in love with Jesus and continue to love people.

What can we do about it? Sometimes, nothing. If we preach about it – we are scolding. If we teach on it – we are critical. And, if we ask where they were, get ready to hear excuses from A to Z. So what is a Pastor to do?

• Realize absenteeism will happen. If it isn’t a habit – don’t make it a bigger problem. Things come up and people will miss for credible reasons.
• Don’t be too harsh but express heartfelt concern when you haven’t seen a member regularly.
• Pray for each of them and send a card or text every time they miss. Let them know you miss them.
• Be willing to change service times or days if you need to make it more plausible. We changed our Wednesday night service from 7:00 to 6:00 and served dinner for those rushing in from work.
• Quit saying, “Where two or three are gathered there am I in the midst of them,” every time you have a low crowd. Don’t excuse unfaithfulness. Preach your best message and worship God. Keep focused on Jesus and not on people who are missing.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

THESE GIFTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE USED IN THE CHURCH 2018 Favorite Post

God has intentionally and appropriately gifted people in the church to fulfill the mission and vision of the church. Some are God gifted people who are able and willing to, with their team, to accomplish the work God has set before them. They are a joy to the leader and are a resource to the church.

However, there are some who are self-gifted. Maybe sensing the need to do something they clamor for a position, desire acclamation and perform for applause. The gift is questionable to the leadership and may reach the level of obnoxiousness to the congregation. Some self-gifted volunteers can be redirected into a more purposeful and God-honoring area of ministry while others simply fade away to “use their gifts elsewhere.”

GOD GIVEN GIFTS exemplify the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
SELF GIVEN GIFTS react instead of restore, resign instead of revive and resist instead of respect.

There are gifts NOT intended to be used in the church, in any church.

THE GIFT OF ASSUMPTION
Nothing is more disturbing to the leadership of the church than a person who assumes the worst and ignores the best. The negative attitude is carried through the sanctuary like a carton of rotten eggs. They presume and assume about everything and everybody. No, this gift is not based on evidence and certainly not based on facts but purely on speculation. No gift of discernment is evident just entire and complete fabrication based on “I thought I saw…”

THE GIFT OF INTERRUPTION
The “know it all” has an opinion on everything and everybody. They are often wrong but never admit it. They don’t mind telling you “how I feel about it.” Explanation, examination or exegesis is not a part of the conversation; interpretation is based on an interior motive of being right and winning the argument or the debate. Combustible when losing and celebrates others loses.

THE GIFT OF MAGNIFICATION
Making a “mountain out of a molehill” is the ulterior delight of the “magnifier.” Small is enlarged in their mind before all the facts are known. Taking bits and pieces they construct a castle of doubt and fear. Pastors are trying to deal with problems but the “magnifier” increasingly casts suspicion on the people involved. Making others feel smaller and themselves bigger is the role of the “magnifier.” The personal quest to build their own statue of holiness perceives everyone else as the enemy who is guilty until proven innocence.

THE GIFT OF MANIPULATION
Moving people like games pieces on a checkerboard is the goal of the “manipulator.” A buried desire to “straighten” other church members out is the outcome of most discussions. The motto of the “manipulator” is “do what I say don’t do what I do.” They have a hidden, interior design to have other’s follow their lead without question. Some will come back to the discussion table with manipulative statements, “You can’t make it without my tithes.”

THE GIFT OF AGITATION
The agitator has been hurt and they fling hurt wherever they go. “Hurt people hurt people,” and the agitator lives up to it. “Locked and loaded” is emblazoned across their forehead. Harm and hurt are left in the path of destruction. Stirring up trouble, living on demeaning actions and an incendiary attitude describes the agitator.

• Pray sincerely and humbly for direction. God has answers we haven’t seen.

• Slowly approach others who have witnessed this behavior. Others may be willing to agree and others may simply say, “That’s just the way he is.”

• Check their history – has it been an ongoing problem or something out of the clear blue? It may be pressure in his home or workplace or a serious health issue.

• Weigh it carefully before acting. Removing people from leadership is harder than placing people in leadership. And, having people leave your church is easier than gaining people into your church.

• Examine your own heart whether you are acting or reacting, shepherding or fighting; then proceed with the passion of Jesus.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

The Small Church Pastor and His Wife

A small church Pastor is most likely bi-vocational. That means he has two jobs – neither of which pays him enough to do without the other.
A small church Pastor likely feels time crunched with two jobs, ministry duties, visitation, sermon preparation, board meetings, church maintenance, denominational meetings, parsonage repairs, and personal devotion and prayer.
A small church Pastor is most likely financially strained as he leads the church in giving, expected to give to every child who is selling a candy bar at school and pays his denominational dues.
However, if all the above fall short there is one thing and one thing alone that rises to the top of the “you must do this one thing” scale. If you ever leave the church, this will be the one item you will take with you. Your wife is the most essential part of your ministry. Your wife is the one prized possession a small church pastor has above all else.
YOUR WIFE IS A GIFT FROM HEAVEN. Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Respect and honor to your wife in public and in private will “obtain favor from the Lord.”
YOUR WIFE IS HALF YOUR MINISTRY. Eccleisates 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Many of the ministry duties and responsibilities are directed by your wife.
YOUR WIFE NEEDS YOU. She needs your time, she needs your ear and she needs your heart. Don’t be afraid to give her all three. Take the time, prime time, when it just the two of you, and invest in your relationship. I personally believe, a strong pastoral marriage helps build strong marriages in the church.
YOUR WIFE NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS. Pray for your wife daily. Pray for her physically, mentally and spiritually. She may take a phone call she didn’t need to answer. The snarky looks and penetrating stares are overwhelming. Keep praying for her and keep praying together.
YOUR WIFE NEEDS YOUR LOVE. Tell your wife you love her. Look her in the eye and let her know she still means the world to you. Remember why you married her and repeat it to her. Go on a date, it doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to be personal and private. Invest in your marriage before you invest in the church.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

 

Sabbatical for Small Church Pastors

A sabbatical is needed, a sabbatical is refreshing, and a sabbatical is required for those in leadership. Every small church pastor should experience the joy and rest of a sabbatical.

We dishonor the Sabbath Day instead of “honor the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.”

In Israel, the Sabbath, from Friday evening through Saturday evening, is a national observance, except for taxis and emergency vehicles on the streets are clear, the shops and businesses closed. A family meal including scriptures, prayer, and familial blessings begins the Sabbath. No TV, radio, tablets or phones are used by family members but prayer, Bible reading, physical and mental rest and family time emphasized. This happens every Friday evening and all day Saturday.

In America, we use Sunday, as our Sabbath but filled with travel, ball games, church activities and a little relaxation, little mental rest, little recoil from activity, and little family time. For the Pastor, Sunday is our busiest day. For bi-vocational Pastors, Sunday filled with church responsibilities, Monday through Friday is time spent on the job and Saturday is mowing, cleaning, visiting, studying, hospital calls, family activities and much, much more.

The Feast of the Sabbatical year, in the Old Testament, celebrated every seven years as a Sabbath for the land. (Leviticus 25:2). According to Exodus 23:11 and Leviticus 25:4 the surplus of the six previous years provided for the seventh year. It was a festival filled with food, celebration, and cessation of all field labour. All Hebrew servants are released and the public reading of the law was the highlight of the festivities (Deuteronomy 31:10-13).

Drawing from these parallels the small church pastor should deem a sabbatical necessary every seven years, the local church should set funds aside for six years to pay for the Pastor’s sabbatical including his regular salary. The Pastor’s lodging, food, transportation and other expenses paid for by the church. There should be no work; no conference, no camp meeting, no preaching, no pastoral responsibilities.

Positioning: take a Bible, a writing pad, a devotional and a couple books.

Place: secluded and removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, a private and quiet area, with a scenic area to walk, meditate and pray.

Pastor: should not take the week, seven complete days, at least, to work on a sermon series but a time of evaluation, reflection, refreshing and rest. Remember this is not a vacation; plan a vacation with the family at another time.

Sabbath is a time God chooses to slow us down and bring us into spiritual and mental alignment with Him. God chose a six-day work week and a Sabbath as a time to rest, reflect and refresh. The Sabbath reminds us to “slow down,” admit our breakneck speed of doing God’s work by ourselves. A Sabbath is a time of personal evaluation of our limitations, fragility and our ability to hold everything in.

A friend of mine went on a seven-day sabbatical, he takes one yearly, to a mountain hike with several other men. The guide purposely plans every stop as a spiritual quest into the Pastor’s heart, mind, and life, regarding purity, manliness, heart contact with God, devotion, fatherhood, and husbandry.

A small church Pastor should outline the scriptures to present to the local church, expressing the importance of a Pastoral Sabbatical. Meet with the board about the payment of lodging, food, and transportation while explaining this is not a vacation. Practice a “personal revival.” An alone time with God, such as Moses’ three years in the desert, David’s years in the hills watching sheep, Jesus often went alone into the mountains to pray, and Paul was three years in the desert.

Pick a place for lodging having a beautiful view, private paths to walk, and enough food for the week. This is not a time for shopping, boating or mountain climbing but a few hikes, a little fishing or a picnic may be observed. Remember, the Sabbatical is to hear the voice of God, to be spiritually rejuvenating and to rest your mind from the exhaustion of stress.

Bless you and be sure and tell me about it when you get back.

Small Church Culture differs from Large Church Culture

Most people don’t have to really think about it because it is obvious that small church culture will be dramatically different than large church culture if for nothing else, money, methods and the masses. The money for large church budgets are largely different that small church ministries, the methods will greatly differ and the masses, well, a 1000 compared to 60. But with that money, method, masses difference there comes a totally different vision and outcome when a person examines the two side by side.

Church is being defined by the culture it emulates, copies and produces. Many large churches have made dramatic changes to adopt to the cultural changes basically among millennials. Mass marketing has now been replaced with target marketing – an intentional hit at those who don’t fit the demographics. Everything from design, to music, to ministry, to platform dress, all has been intricately planned to attract an energetic group of millennial worshippers. While it is very important each church find its uniqueness and fingerprint of their community, the emphasis on “big,” in my opinion, has overhauled some meaningful discussion on doctrine and discipleship.

According to the American Culture and Faith Institute survey, conducted March 2018, 74% of “born again” millennials believe it is morally acceptable for sexual intercourse between unmarried adults. And, of the same group, 66% said, “intentionally looking at pictures or videos that display nudity or explicit sexual behavior” was morally acceptable.

Has our adaption process led to the demise of “born again” behavior? Has the culturally magnetic church promoted grace, mercy and love at the expense of purity, holiness and biblical principles? Without sounding too judgmental isn’t it about time for us to reexamine our discipleship or lack of it? Some said, “We can change the method without changing the message,” but we did change the message. Motivational sermons and self-help series are not giving “seekers” an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and certainly not as Lord of our lives.

We may have to discuss this subject in greater detail later but here is how the small church culture and the large church culture differ:

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In many small churches the church is the culture and reflects most people around them. Those with the vision have to ask if Betty is working, has a school function or can find a baby sitter for the major outreach the church is having this summer. Why, because she is the main giver and/or the main volunteer. Large church plants give the thumbs up to a new coordinator, specializing in organizational skills, and the meetup determines who is chosen for each mission.

Small churches continue filling the countryside and are often attracting people from their community. They may not be big but they are mighty. Is cultural change needed? Maybe. But, many are still doing a great job of reaching people for Jesus and doing the work of the Father. Could we all do more? Yes.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

SMALL CHURCH PASTOR DO THIS TODAY

As a small church pastor It is easy to get caught up with the needs of the church. Not enough people, not enough money, not enough volunteers and not enough time. Small church pastors have experienced heartache, hurts and dashed hopes. But there needs to be a clarion call to small church Pastors of the need to change our focus from our subtractions to our multiplications. Instead of looking at what we live without let’s begin to live “out loud” with what we are enjoying and benefitting from every day.

Focus on these benefits today and what your emotional and spiritual zeal revive.

 

BE THANKFUL GOD CALLED YOU AND SENT YOU. God chose a few. “Few are chosen,” Jesus said. You carry the badge of honor responsible for declaring the truth of God’s Holy Word. God has called you to be shepherd the one’s He died for. What a calling! “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send laborers…” You are the answer to someone’s prayers for a laborer to be in the field for their family, their children and the church. You have been selected to scatter the seed of the gospel. However, the small church pastor is not responsible for their personal response, whether it be positive or negative, you are called to sow the seed. Galatians 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Count the blessings of family, friends and food! Yes, food. Much of the “fun” in small church pastoring is being able to enjoy the surroundings of family, friends and food as you celebrate a graduation, a wedding or “after church.”  You laugh together, sometimes cry together and many times, grow together in the faith. As Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

 

WRITE DOWN A LIST OF THOSE WHO CIRCLE YOU For a small church pastor this may be the very best thing you will do today. Be intentional about writing down the names of the people who are closest to you in your church. This circle is the ones who pray for you, stand up for you and appreciate you.

 

THE ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE INNER CIRCLE HIGHLY OUTWEIGHS THE DISCOURAGEMENT YOU GET FROM OTHERS.

 

Now, invest most of your ministry into them. John C. Maxwell advises, “People require time – your spouse, your children, your co-workers, your friends. If you want to have healthy relationships with the people around you, you have to invest time with those people.”

To write down your inner circle will strengthen your ministry as you develop a team around you. Spending time with critics and controllers drains too much of your time and energy, spend your time developing the strengths of your inner circle.

 

WORSHIP STRONG In the Worship service give it your all. Sing strong, pray strong, worship strong. When a small church pastor scans the worship service crowd for absentees it drains the momentum you had earlier. Watching the complainers and gossips is exhausting but to worship is refreshing, life giving and fulfilling.  Many people in a small church will follow the lead in worship when the platform people worship. Worship from your heart, this is not a performance but a worship service, lift your hands, worship God and enjoy the presence of the Lord.

If you find it impossible to concentrate on worship because of your responsibilities and tasks, find a place later where you can sing and worship unhindered, (possibly the sanctuary when everyone else has left). As a small church pastor a time is needed for private worship and unhindered prayer.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.

 

 

 

 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO GROW YOUR SMALL CHURCH?

In America most church attendees go to a small to medium size church. In fact, according to Barna Research, Almost half (46%) attend a church of 100 or fewer members. However, when you ask any small church Pastor, “would you like to grow?” The answer is always a resounding, “YES!”

The path to small church growth is much harder to ascertain when searching for the correct message, method and the means, in layman terms “how do we go about it?” and “how do we pay for it?” Where do we turn? Seminars are most often conducted by mega-church Pastors who wish to share their secret sauce. Denominational resources are expensive and usually don’t fit the need of the small church.

Small church pastors think about family ties, past offences, financial woes and low volunteerism. No matter where you are – if you have a small church – you have hurdles, hurts and “how are we going to afford this?” However, with every hurdle, hurt and “how” there is a message, method and means.

MESSAGE – IT’S HIS WORK According to John 4:34  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. FIND OUT WHAT GOD IS DOING AND DO IT. When we do our own work we can expect frustration and failure but when we do the work of God, it may be met with opposition and resistance but we will be ultimately satisfied in doing His work. As in this story of the women at the well there was only one woman to preach to and only one woman responded but God had a plan for the future. The increase is NOT in ONE but what is to be done WITH that ONE.

 

METHOD – BE REGIONAL John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. DON’T MEASURE YOUR MINISTRY BY THE SIZE OF YOUR CHURCH BUT BY THE NEED OF THE FIELD. Focusing on the inadequacies of the small church minimizes your ministry, focus on the field and maximize your ministry. You are not the Pastor of a small church but the Pastor of a region. Pray for the Mayor, the Police Chief, the city council and business people in your town. Your method isn’t determined by the size of your church but the size of your ministry.

 

MEANS – SOWERS AND REAPERS John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. Not everyone does the same thing and not everyone has the same gift. Some will respond by volunteering for the project – others will give but not everyone will volunteer and not everyone will give. Some are workers and some are givers – some are sowers and some are reapers – all may rejoice together.

 

One woman responded but she went into town and many more responded, John 4:42  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.  Counting numbers can be unduly frustrating – seeing people’s potential is rewarding. The complete harvest is waiting behind the one who is listening, learning and loving Jesus.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal  or professional advice.