The last time that I wrote I said that I was going to begin something new. Instead of creating each blog entry myself, I was going to ask other people who are passionate about the small church to contribute. By doing so it is my hope that you will get a taste of what is happening across Canada in the area of small-church ministry. Here are just a few exciting examples of what is happening. Others will share more details in future entries.
Twelve denominations and organizations have joined together to carry out a research project on small churches in Canada. Something like this has never been done before and I am excited about the impact that this will have on small churches all over the country. One of the pressures that small church leaders often face is a feeling of being isolated and alone. It is my prayer that this study which will involve hundreds of churches will contribute to lessening those feelings.
A study was recently completed on bi-vocational pastors and the issues that they face. There are a lot of pastors who don’t have the luxury of concentrating just on church ministry. Much of their ministry hours happen in the evenings and on weekends because they are working during the week. I have had the good fortune of serving largely in a full-time pastoral capacity but I have had a few short periods when I was also working at another job and it was a challenge. I am looking forward to having someone share more about this study.
A retired pastor in Saskatchewan, Ron Baker, had a vision for creating a small-church ministry centre that would work along side Bible colleges and seminaries in Canada. He has joined the staff at Small Church Connections and in a future blog he will share more of his dream. I am excited to have Ron on board in that it gives me a chance to work with someone who has a passion for the small church that equals mine.
These are just a sample of what is happening and what we will be sharing with you in the months ahead. It is my goal to publish an entry twice a month: one of which will share with you something that is happening that will affect small churches and one which will be designed to encourage you in your ministry.
A few years ago I had a series of conversations with different denominational leaders. At the end of each conversation I felt like I had been speaking with someone who spoke a different language and lived in a different culture. I tried to talk with these leaders about the value of the small church and they only wanted to talk about their latest plan for turning small churches into large ones. I came away from each conversation wondering if we would ever be able to communicate when our thinking was so divergent.
Over the past couple of years I have noticed a change. I am having more and more conversations with leaders who see the value of the small church just as it is. They are realizing that the church doesn’t have to grow large in order to have value. It is my hope that this blog will give a voice to such leaders as they share their thoughts and plans for the small church in Canada
May God bless you and your ministry in whatever setting you find yourself in today.