Small Church, Big Lessons: 30 Key Insights

Powerful real-life lessons from a church of under 100 people.

Small Church, Big Lessons: 30 Key Insights

From the time I was in college until shortly after being married I was a leader in a church with an average weekly attendance of just under 100 people. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and laid the foundation for how I would lead people moving forward.

Before I get into the list, I cannot recommend enough you click HERE for information on an upcoming Breaking the 200 (Attendance) Barrier course being put on by Church Fuel. It is as good as anything I have seen and a must-have for small church pastors.

Now as promised, the following are 30 Things I Learned Leading in a Small Church:

  1. I learned to love pastors and how to serve them.
  2. I learned about church leadership from riding with my pastor on Monday and Tuesday night visitation.
  3. I learned how to teach the Bible.
  4. I was able to work on my craft at a slow pace because my small church was forgiving of my mistakes.
  5. I learned how to pray.
  6. Thanks to Continuing Witness Training, I learned how to share my faith.
  7. I learned rigorous work was required to reach my full potential.
  8. I learned about John Maxwell.
  9. I learned about Bill Hybels.
  10. I learned the importance of visiting people in hospitals.
  11. I learned that to be an effective youth pastor you must also pastor the parents.
  12. I learned how to organize youth services, activities and retreats.
  13. I learned how to experience love because we were like a family.
  14. I learned how to deal with gossip because we were like a family.
  15. I learned competition is sickening to God.
  16. I learned how hot the bright lights of the stage can be.
  17. I learned passion and naivety can be greatly used by God, but passion and naivety would eventually not be enough. I had to get better by improving my skills.
  18. I learned how hard decisions are made.
  19. I learned how to build lifelong friendships.
  20. I learned I could not sing. Though I will be a worship leader in Heaven when I have my glorified body.
  21. I learned the value of a visitor.
  22. I learned it is almost impossible to grow without quality leadership.
  23. I learned you can’t do all the work. You must build a team.
  24. I learned loving people can overcome a lack of financial resources.
  25. I learned generosity through the people who loved and served me as a youth pastor.
  26. I learned my small tithe makes a big difference.
  27. I learned bi-vocational ministry can destroy your soul if you are not careful.
  28. I learned small church pastors are grossly underpaid.
  29. I learned God honors faithfulness.
  30. I learned there are many mega-pastors in small church environments. Their church just has not caught up with them yet.

***Bonus*** I also learned you can find a great wife in a small church!

Once again, if you are in a small church environment and want to know how to break the 200 attendance barrier, click HERE.

Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See for additional insights.