I am a small church pastor so I feel qualified to write this blog. I don’t have a mega church following of 2,000 people where I am writing to encourage small pastors of their importance. The advice from someone like that would probably be good but it is different when you ARE a small church pastor. Here are some things I have learned in my 15+ years of being a small church pastor that I hope encourages those of you doing the same:
1. Just Because you’re With a Small Crowd Doesn’t Mean you Aren’t Good
The fact is that some of the best speakers and authors in Christianity have small churches. There are approximately 400,000 churches in the USA. These churches are needed in their communities and are appointed by God to do what they are doing. While their communities need them there is no way we can have 400,000 New York Times bestseller authors or Trinity Broadcasting Network headliners. It is simply the wrong mentality to think that the best ‘whatever’ will be on the national stage. This is man’s thinking and not God’s.
2. To Be Faithful is Our Main Challenge
When no one but your church notices what you are doing it is very hard. It tests our motives and our ambition. Those with large ministries probably have there own challenges but it is a crucible for our character to be faithful week after week in a small ministry. But those of us who go through it there is a great eternal reward that comes with that crucible. When we learn that our place is to follow God and be content in it we will start to see that our place is eternally crucial because God desires it for His reasons. It would be fun to be a best selling author, but then it may be hard to discern why we are doing what we are doing?
3. Every Message Deserves the Best Material You Can Give
You never know who is in that audience. How many of you know the name of Steve Jobs father? How many of us know who led Billy Graham to the Lord? Those kind of people are in your ministry and could influence great business and ministry leaders.
3. There’s Room for Everyone
Competition is a part of American culture. It may have value in business but it destroys Christianity. It is not a value of the Kingdom. One person or ministry does not have to diminish for yours to grow.
4. You Have an Assignment and You Will See the Big Picture Some Day
The man who wrote 2/3rds of the New Testament – Paul – died in a prison cell while many of his churches that he planted were fighting apostasy. If I were him I would be wondering if I was a failure because I tend to judge things based on external circumstances. But he wrote that he had finished the race and there was now a crown of righteousness laid up for him. We can only judge our place from the vantage point of history while viewing it from heaven.
I guarantee you that if God called you to what you are doing it is important. He never does things without thinking or without a plan. Where you are at is exactly where God wants you and it is the most important job you could be doing because you are part of God’s chess game on earth to checkmate the devil. I know it is often hard to see the importance of it. But God has put us there because He needs us and He knows He can count on us to do it.
Small church pastors, don’t stop, you are making a difference and one day you will see it!