As quickly as you can, pastor, turn over jobs to members.
When it comes to how to grow a small church, the congregation may be used to the pastor doing everything himself–from setting up chairs for a meeting, to mowing the lawn, to cleaning the toilets. And, occasionally, someone will actually state this as the expectation: “That’s what we pay the preacher for!” Pastors should not overreact but smile at such, then ask for volunteers to help.
It’s important for the new pastor of a small church to keep in mind…
–he should never surprise the leadership with any change of direction, special event, or new plans. They were here long before and presumably will be here after he leaves. A wise pastor will leave them better prepared to serve the Lord in better ways.
–it’s not necessary for everyone to come to every meeting. Be careful about judging members by whether they come on Wednesday night.
–in asking people to give financially, remember the principle: People give to vision, not to needs. So, rather than urging them to give “to support the budget” or “to pay off the mortgage,” keep before them the vision of a thriving, healthy church making an eternal difference in the lives of hundreds.
–do not be discouraged by setbacks. Some small churches take longer to turn around than others. Your leaders will be watching carefully to see how you handle a failure–a goal the church failed to reach, an event for which no one showed up, etc. So, stay on your knees, stay close to the Lord, and get your vision and encouragement from Him.
As a young assistant minister, I was driving my pastor to speak at some engagement in the next county. As we passed a small country church, he said, “Joe, let me tell you something I’ve noticed. Often, the pastor of that little church can preach just as well as the one in the big church. The difference is that he does all the jobs himself and will not turn loose of them. But the other pastor has learned to disciple hjis people–to enlist them to take responsibility for areas of ministry. It frees him up for other things while it develops them into more effective disciples. So, he multiplies disciples while the man in the small church never grows anyone.
I never forgot the lesson. Thankfully, it’s not true in every case. But there’s enough truth in it to make me remember it and repeat it here. Let’s make disciples, my brothers. It’s our Lord’s assignment to us in Matthew 28:18-20.
This article on how to grow a small church originally appeared here, and is used by permission.