Small churches

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Over the years, I have spoken to pastors of small churches. Some seem content that their church remains small.

    Is this Godly thinking?

    If we are truly seeking and serving the Lord, will we not see increase?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    Some churches are just in fields that are very difficult to plow and plant. Others are in fields that are very good fields ready to harvest.
     
  3. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I grew up in a farm community, seven miles from the biggest town in the county. There were never more than about 15-20 families -- around 90-100 people -- attending that church, and that was plenty. It was kind of an odd church, Methodist served by a circuit pastor. But most of the members were Baptist. The nearest Baptist church was in town, and nobody wanted to drive that far (!!) back in the 50s-60s to attend church.

    The pastor was there every third week. In the interim weeks, one of the deacons would preach the message. Frankly, at that age, I didn't pay enough attention to know whether any of the messages were biblical -- and likely wouldn't have known even if I had paid attention. But it seemed people were fed, nurtured, and grew in their faith.

    There were no further opportunities for growth. Everyone within a seven-or-so-mile radius that would ever consider attending that church, already did. It was enough.

    Today, the church is still there, still serving about 10-15 families in the immediate area, though I believe they have a bivocational pastor now. Pretty sure the Methodists don't do circuits anymore, except in the most remote parts of the U.S. and the world.
     
  4. go2church

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    As Rev referenced, context is everything.
     
  5. annsni

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    I'd say in some geographical areas, small is the only way a church could ever be. But then you get in an area like we are in and it gets tough. We are in a school district of 15,000 children and 123,000 total people living there. It is entirely underserved by Evangelical churches and there are NO churches there that are over 100 people unless you count the Catholic church or the mosque. We WANT to grow and we are working at it as best we can but it's our job to be obedient and God's job to grow us. I do think once we have a permanent location, we will see some more growth and, most importantly, more lives changed by God. :) I'm not satisfied being small. I want the entire area to hear the Word of God and respond!! I'm OK with people attending other Evangelical churches - but as long as they are walking with the Lord. I want the herd to grow more than anything. Our particular sheepfold can grow too but that's not the goal as much as the herd. :)
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    From what I see here where I live, I really pray for much smaller & more intimate churches to pop up covering more area. Its my opinion that we need much more active but smaller...smaller in numbers, smaller programs, less officialism. I take seriously Jesus' teaching about "two or three gathering in my name."
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    Not every church needs to be big. Not every church needs to be small.

    Different churches reach different people.

    My only concerning is the fidelity to the biblical text, faithfulness to the Gospel, and pursuit of missions.
     
  8. Salty

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    I think I failed to properly explain myself. I am talking about churches that have absoutely no growth over a period of years.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    Well context can determine some of this. I've always believed that if a pastor and church go about the marks I mentioned above, they will see growth. Noe that growth might only be a handful every year, but it would still be growth.

    If a church is in a growing county or town and they are flatlined on growth, there is probably something that needs to be reconciled. However, growth doesn't always equal health.

    Its a difficult subject. :)
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    Maybe the better measurement is whether the church is engaged in actual worship and outreach regardless of the results. It could be a dead church but it could be a church in a hard field.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Hard field is an element of stagnation but not the real cause. Staying in the confines of the church and not going out into the world and displaying Christ and seeing Christ in the least of your brothers is key to growth. Not doing it is the key to stagnation and death. I cant be anymore blunt than that.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I am curious Ann and since you live in the NE I feel compelled to ask....how many in the church come from a Catholic background?
     
  13. Revmitchell

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    Uh you have no idea what you are talking about. There are plenty of small churches that are doing all they can. It is not necessary to assume the worst of everyone across the board.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Ah...yes I do. Every single dead church ive been affiliated with has one distinct characteristic in common and that is the unwillingness to reach out to the community.....really do the work, press the flesh and get out of their comfort zones.
     
  15. salzer mtn

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    Why do people always see growth as numbers. A church can grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth, growth in humility, love ect. Large churches are sometimes are so caught up in programs, activities and they are not still long enough to grow spiritually. After my conversion I started going for a while to what the pastor called a soul winning church which was filled with much activity of visitation nights to win souls to Christ. He preached a lot of what he called soul winning messages every Sunday. The church was non- denomination so he stayed clear of what he called doctrine. A tree to grow strong must grow downwardly to develop deep roots so as to withstand the winds after it has grown upwardly.
     
  16. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    That still could be more about opportunity than ministry, Salt, as that church in my old community shows.
    How does a church such as I described "reach out"? The community has already been reached!
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    No you don't.
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    So long as there are lost people the community has not been reached.
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I only know of one farm community.....In NJ where farm communities are rapidly dying. So if you reached that community & content, then fine. But out here I do not see any new blood walking in so (again here) they will have a life cycle & then die.

    But remember, I view a person sitting at the kitchen table & reading the bible as a church so my point of view might be different from many. For many, its head count.
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Obstinate aren't you. Prove your point then.
     

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