The Dynamics of Small Church Ministry
The Driving Forces Behind the Attitude Toward Church GrowthBiblical Pattern for the Church and Its Congregates
‘DOING CHURCH ON PURPOSE"
Why some churches grow and others stay the sme.
I will focus first on the small church dynamics:]
- the motivating or driving forces,
- the pattern or history of growth, change, and development in any field.
the aggregate of motivational forces, both conscious and unconscious, that determine human behavior and attitudes.
I have pastored four churches with attendance less than 200. So this would qualify me as a small church pastor. I have been on church staff of churches with attendance between 500 and 1000. And I was a member of FBC in Hammond Indiana for a short while. Many know they had the largest Sunday School in America. So I know the mega church as well.
Too often I have looked at the small church through the observations of a large church. The dynamics of a small setting in a small town are different than a large church in a large city.
In almost every church the members will say, "Charles, we are a small church, and we don’t do things like a big church does." And I would say, "Why not?" Of course they didn’t really know why, and at the time I didn’t know why either.
I always thought a small church, in a big town or city could always grow. I thought a small church in a small community also could grow. I am talking about an established small church from 10 to 100 years old.
The first church I pastored was over 120 years old and never had more than fifty prior to my becoming pastor. The church in Altoona Kansas, was 25 years old and topped out at 25 people. The church in Lusby Mills, Kentucky, was a SBC and 100 years old, and topped out at 40 people. The church in Princeton was the second oldest church, but every time the church approached 200 the church split. There are four churches in the city that have attendance over 200 that were a split off this church.
So what are the dynamics of these churches and like churches that causes them to enjoy the status of being small?
I didn’t realize there was a good answer. I have learned that there is some sameness in all these churches. They all have some of the same dynamics, conscious and unconscious, that determine human behavior and attitudes in all these small churches. Think of that!
This week I was given information of a church that the pastor left after about six months. A church that I was asked to try out for. This has happened too often in the last four years since I have been in Portsmouth Ohio. Small churches like to stay small. And that is either a conscious or an unconscious dynamic of the small church setting.
A minister who has an idea of a large church mentality generally cannot stay long in a church that has developed the small church attitude. Sometimes a small church is small because of its dynamics, and normally they will not come out of that mind set though sometimes they will. This can happen only after learning why they are of that small church mind set.
You would have thought as much as I read books, and articles, and go to conferences that I would have learned sooner these determined factors.
Let me just mention something before I get into the dynamics of the small church. There are times when you change the dynamics and due to the low population of the town, or community the attendance will vary in size. There are reasons why they don’t grow even when they desire to grow. We will mention some in this article as well as we go along..
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant, Proof Read and Lived Through by Charity Whisnant