Last week I shared my dream for the small church across Canada. As part of that dream I made the following two statements.
“I have a dream that small churches will bond together in such a way that they will serve as an encouragement and support for each other recognizing that while they may be small, together they can be a powerful force in this country.”
Then under suggestions for what individual churches can do, I suggested the following.
“Third, think beyond just your own small church. Next week I am going to write about the importance of uniting with other churches. Alone you might be small but you are one of thousands of other small churches in Canada. Those small churches need to have a united voice.”
In this week’s edition I want to share with you several practical steps that you can take to unite with other small churches and in so doing become part of something greater than your any individual church can be by itself.
The Common Frustration: Lack of Resources
Over the past several years I have asked hundreds of people the same two questions. In one-0n-one conversations, seminars, church worship services and other small-group settings I have asked people from small churches what is their greatest strength as a church.
One hundred percent of the time I receive back the same answer. The answers may be worded differently but they always center around relationships.
We love each other.
We are family.
We care about each other.
We know when the other people in the church are going through problems and we help them.
All the answers can be boiled down to that one word “relationships.”
Then I flip the coin over and ask people what is their greatest frustration. About ninety percent of the time I receive an answer that focuses on some aspect of a lack of resources.
Not enough people
Not enough finances
Not enough gifts
Not enough of something, the lack of which makes ministry difficult.
If this is true and the greatest problem faced by small churches is a lack of resources, would it not make sense for multiple small churches in an area to pool their resources by working together. I am not suggesting a merger of churches here but merely a greater level of cooperation between churches.
As I speak with church leaders across Canada, I hear stories of this kind of cooperation between churches and I wonder why more churches don’t do this.
I also hear of small towns where every church in town runs its own summer day camp or DVBS and I have to wonder why they would not work together.
A United Voice
Over the past few months I have visited with leaders in a Baptist Church in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, an Anglican Church in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, an Independent Church in Montreal, Quebec, a Church of God Church in Churchbridge, Saskatchewan, a Missionary Alliance Church in Milestone, Saskatchewan and an Independent Church in Sundridge, Ontario.
As I spoke with these leaders, I have been struck much more by the similarities between the churches than I have by the differences. They are located in very different locations; they have different denominational ties; they have different histories.
But whatever the differences, they have a lot in common. They share the same concerns and challenges. They have many of the same frustrations. They also share many of the same joys.
The common link that they have with each other is that they are small.
An important part of my dream for the small church in Canada is to unite small churches on a national scale so that they have a more powerful voice in the church community in this country.
It is difficult for a single small church to feel like it has very much impact. I want to bring hundreds of small churches together so that they can encourage and support each other and so that together they can have a common voice that is speaking into issues relevant to the small church.
At Small Church Connections we would like you to be part of that common voice. You not only will benefit your own church but you will be an encouragement to other small churches that need to know that they are not alone.
For more information on how you can join the Small Church Connections’ network of small churches in Canada, send me an email at:
and I will gladly send you more information.
Great things through small beginnings
This past week I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I was thinking of the challenge of establishing this network and the conferences and seminars that we are planning for the future. The task seemed more than I am able to accomplish.
I had to remind myself of two truths because they are truths that make all the difference.
The first is that I can’t accomplish anything of significance. It will only happen if God works his miracle and makes it happen. He can do what I can’t do.
The second truth is that there are thousands of small churches in Canada that are dear to the heart of God and they need to be heard. They need to be seen as an essential part of the church scene in Canada and at the moment there are very few people speaking out on their behalf.
Your church is too important not to have a national network working for your good.
Your church is deeply loved by God and needs a stronger voice speaking out on its behalf.
May God bless you as you serve him in your special part of his kingdom.