2 The Small Church…

As a Pastor of a “Small” Church I know and have been told all the advantages of the small congregation. Also as a Pastor I’ve learned some of the disadvantages, but I won’t go there. Fellow bloger, http://thediscipler.blogspot.com, has some great comments about the small church, but let me list you his disadvantages:

First, in a smaller church you get to know everybody. Yes, I know I put that as a strength, but it is also one of a small church’s greatest liabilities. You can easily identify the trouble-makers, gossip-mongers, and those who are spiteful and bitter. Because they are known, they are often accepted without question. Furthermore, because everyone knows everyone every statement must be examined lest it cause offense or misunderstanding.

Second, in a smaller church a threat to leave or withdraw support creates a crisis. In large congregations, a family may “take their ball and leave the game� without creating as much as a ripple. One unhappy individual choosing to leave a smaller church creates a crisis, especially when their friends know they’re unhappy. Those with money pose an even greater threat. A major contributor who becomes unhappy can create all kinds of problems.

Third, in a smaller church excellent leadership is often in short supply. More often than not, smaller churches are organized in a more traditional fashion with bylaws that require a specified number of leaders. Such specifications lead to ignoring biblical qualifications making availability the primary requirement. The traditional structures in most churches, including some megachurches, creates an adversarial system that leads to trouble. Fortunate are the congregations that have such systems and have successfully avoided conflict.

Fourth, in a smaller church the minister often becomes a chaplain rather than an innovative evangelist. Those smaller congregations surviving a few years with an innovative evangelist don’t stay small. The Ginghamsburg Church near Dayton is a prime example. When the Methodist Conference assigned Mike Slaughter to the Ginghamsburg pulpit, the congregation averaged about 90 in a small building located about 5 miles north of Dayton. The first year, according to Slaughter, the congregation grew to 70. Today, more than 20 years later, this congregation is one of the largest and most dynamic Methodist Churches in the country. Because of their inherent nature, most smaller congregations want a caregiver chaplain and, if the truth were known, do not expect nor do they want to grow.

Fifth, in a smaller church it is harder for new people to find acceptance. Smaller churches often see themselves as intensely friendly … and they are … with each other. A new family or individual often finds it difficult to break in. Only through persistence and effort can they make their way into the circle of acceptance.

If true, what do we do?

1 Halloween: A relational event?

For most; it is after Halloween that we begin to look forward to the “Big 2” of “Church” holidays. the first being Thanksgiving where we are mindful of the blessings of God and the second, Christmas, where we remember the birth of Christ, the greatest gift. But in the “Church” world Halloween is often overlooked as something worth celebrating. I’m guilty. But after this past monday, I’m rethinking Halloween. We ought to officially recognize it every week. The church says it relational, but we really do a poor job in general.

A couple of cool relational things about Halloween:
* Friends from my neighborhood come to my front door, unannounced, to visit.
* I get the chance to meet neighbors that I haven’t met before.
* I have the opportunity to engage in conversations I would not normally have.
* Hot dogs are great after a night of “trick or treat.”
* My kids are darn cute when they dress up in costumes.
* I have a rich assortment of candy that I can steal from my kids.
* I get to enjoy a fun evening with my family and friends.

Now that’s relational!
Just a thought.

Make today Count; True for Pastors Also.

Many times in ministry as a Pastor I’m sharing with people to make today count, live the day that God has blessed you with and don’t worry about tomorrow. But as the following story shares in vivid reality, “make today count” is true for those in ministry also. We are not above “Bad Things” happening to us, our family, or those connected with our ministries. Make Today Count!

Oct. 30, 2005, 6:08PM
Pastor electrocuted while performing baptism
Associated Press

WACO — A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged, a worker at the church said.
University Baptist Church Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in water up to his shoulder in a baptismal when electrocuted, said Jamie Dudley, wife of UBC community pastor Ben Dudley and a business administrator at the church.

The woman Lake was baptizing was not injured, Jamie Dudley said.

She said doctors attending the service did chest compressions for 40 minutes before Lake was taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center.

Dudley said it’s common for the pastor to use the microphone during baptisms.

“He was grabbing the microphone so everyone could hear,” Dudley said. “It’s the only way you can be loud enough.”

Dudley said about 800 people were attending the morning service. She said the service was larger than normal because it was homecoming weekend at Baylor University, located near the church.

Dudley said Lake had been at the church for nine years, the last seven as pastor. She said Lake had a wife and three children.

See also
http://garylamb.blogspot.com/2005/10/i-cant-believe-i-just-read-this.html

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