We consistently have the privilege to partner with some of the 95% of churches in America under 500 in average attendance, and we are so grateful to have the opportunity to encourage and equip leaders in these ministries.
One thing that is always true of the pastors we work with is this: The leaders of these churches always want to make a difference. They go above and beyond to be present and influence their community. Many are working a second job to pay the bills. And they stick it out even when it feels impossible.
Often times this goes without notice. Small-church pastors don't usually speak at events that draw thousands of people. They don't usually write best-selling books. Their congregation often expects them to be super-pastor. And many of them don't regularly hear the words "thank you."
So if you pastor a small church, hear it from us:THANK YOU! Thank you for leading your church faithfully. And thank you for the sacrifices you make every day.
Our team recently got together and discussed some of the main reasons we're thankful for small-church pastors. Here are 5 of them:
1) They are the backbone of the Church in America.
Small churches truly are the backbone of the Church in America. As I mentioned above, 95% of the churches in this country are under 500 in average attendance. And around 87% are under 200 in attendance. Small churches make up the majority, and are a huge reason many communities even have a church nearby.
2) They don't let a lack of resources limit their ministry.
Resources can be fairly scarce in a small church. This is the main reason we provide grant funds. But whether it's finances, volunteers, or physical space, leaders in small churches are determined and refuse to let the lack of resources keep them from giving their all to reach their community.
3) Their faithfulness has a ripple effect throughout their community.
Small-church pastors make a much bigger impact than they often realize. They may not have thousands show up on a Sunday morning, but they work hard to encourage and equip their congregation to make a difference throughout the community. And this commitment leads to many people hearing the good news of Jesus.
4) They persevere when it feels easier to quit.
When I pastored a small church for 12 years, there were many times that I would just break down in my office asking God for a friend. Being a pastor can be a lonely and exhausting job. But we are so grateful for the small-church pastors who persevere by holding on to the confidence in their calling.
5) They love the people they serve.
Finally, pastors in small churches give so much of their time and energy to the people they serve, even if those people are difficult to love. They make hospital visits, they counsel people through difficult times, and they pray consistently for those they lead.
Pastors, we are so grateful for you. You matter. You are not a failure. And the work you do every day has eternal significance.
This list is by no means comprehensive of all the reasons we have to be thankful for you, but I hope you feel encouraged and reminded of the huge impact you are making in the lives of those you lead.
And if there's any we can be of assistance, or if you just need a listening ear, please feel free to reach out.
Dale has over 35 years of ministry experience and is dedicated to helping small and mid-size churches get healthy. In 2014, he launched Dale Sellers Leadership to assist organizations in the areas of leadership, inspiration, and evangelism. He and his wife, Gina, have been married for 35 years and have three daughters, two sons-in-law and a recent grandchild!