Are You OK with Leading a Small Church?

In this week’s Ministry Briefing we looked at a question from Karl Vaters:

Karl Vaters writes that seminaries often focus on helping pastors prepare to lead larger congregations or to grow small congregations into large ones. However, 80-90% of pastoral ministry students will never pastor a church that is larger than 250 people. In fact, most pastors will at one point or another minister in a small church. Vaters suggests that pastors should be prepared to graciously lead small churches since they are often the norm.

Source: Leadership Journal

Why does this matter for church leaders?

Small churches are easy to overlook in seminary, but they are the reality for the vast majority of pastors.

  • Will you ever go small? There’s a chance that most pastors will minister in a smaller congregation or help start a smaller congregation that grows. Don’t view a small congregation as a failure. It’s the norm for most pastors.
  • Do you have the right leadership style? Leadership styles change as churches grow. Have you been primarily trained to lead a larger church? As you evaluate your plans and strategies, make sure they match your church size.
  • Are you ready to plant? Church leaders should value small churches right from the start since church planting is effective for reaching new people with the Gospel. Leaders who understand the challenges of small churches are best suited to mentor church planters.

What can you do to help train more leaders of small churches?  

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About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.