The other day I was thinking about my experience as a small church pastor. I spent some time reflecting on what I would do differently if I were to do it over again. My top five are…
1 – I would spend more time in personal evangelism.
The BEST THING A PASTOR CAN DO IS LEAD PEOPLE TO JESUS! This is critical in that it is what the church is supposed to do, but it is also critical in that it develops momentum! When people start seeing others come to Christ they either get excited and involved or they leave.
As the pastor of a small church most everything that happens is likely to end up on your plate. At some point you have to make a decision about priorities! If I had to do it over again I would choose evangelism EVERY TIME!
Your decision as the pastor of a small church to commit to personal evangelism will largely determine how effective your church is in bringing the unsaved to Christ.
2 – I would start more and different style worship services.
When I was pastoring at a smaller church we started a Saturday night service. I learned several things through that experience: 1) people will serve if there’s a place that scratches their itch. Most people don’t serve because the role where they would find the most fulfillment is already filled! So start a new service! 2) The more services you offer, the more convenient it is to come to church. Some people don’t like the words “convenience” and “church” in the same sentence, but I say, “Do whatever it takes to get people into church!” 3) People won’t be so quick to resist if it doesn’t “mess” with their worship time and genre preference. I realized that when we were worshipping at a different time (and sometimes in a different place) what we did and how we did it was not threatening to the existing congregation, and this enabled us to take some creative license.
3 – I would blog and promote it shamelessly.
The blog is one of the best tools of communication I am aware of! I would blog about church life (much like I’m doing here @ Northgate) and promote the blog as the best way to “be in the know” about the church! Often times churches rely on bulletins or newsletters to “get the word out.” The problem is that at best they are weekly publications! A blog can provide up to the minute information and commentary on church life! Every pastor should blog but it’s probably even more critical for the small church pastor to do so because of the ability to clarify “issues” and to cast vision!
4 – I would use other church’s resources without apology.
I would not insist on being original! It’s easy to spend large chunks of time creating “Kinda good” what someone else with better resources and more know-how has already created “Really good”! A few links here might help:
– From Lifechurch.tv (click here)
– From Sermon Spice (click here)
– From churchmarketingsucks.com (click here)
5 – I would build more teams.
One of the things that I did fairly well in a small church was to build teams (e.g. Hospital Care Team; Worship Team; Drama Team; Small groups; etc.). Looking back I realize that the more teams I had in place the more I could focus on the things that only I could do (e.g. preaching, prayer for the church, casting vision). I would build teams like crazy beginning by teaching the theology of spiritual gifts and their use, and secondly by telling stories (all the time) of people who’s lives had been changed through service!
If you’ve ever been a part of a small church or you are the pastor of a small church, I’m interested in your feedback on this post!