More than a few times I have heard a brother say, “At church this morning I taught the class, lead singing, presided at the Table and preached the lesson.” In such cases, these visiting preachers usually had one local brother present to give the announcements and open and close in prayer—but the previous week he did “everything.”
These “Small” churches must never give up.
I know that these words are easily spoken, especially by those who are not in a small struggling congregation. But rest assured that many of us know the struggle first-hand.
Large congregations are the ideal (yes, I believe that), but we must keep in mind that they didn’t start that way. It takes a lot of faith, perseverance, sacrifice, and resources for a congregation to reach a place where it is considered “Large”—most don’t make it.
Our middle-sized churches are the children of those small churches; thus, they are our powerhouses of talent and ministries. But unless smaller churches gain stability, they will never grow. In fact, the efforts of the few who are trying to make it work will be thwarted by those who live to discourage.
This is not to say that the “smaller” congregations necessarily lack stability, or are forever beset by discouragement. Most do great works in the Kingdom.
However, smaller congregations feel it most when brethren leave their midst. Where larger groups will have multiple hands-on-deck, smaller groups have but a few doing “everything.”
Ironically, it is because they overcome those struggles that they produce that which we need most: “Workers who can do everything.” Since the needs are ever present in these small congregations, everyone is encouraged to do what they can.
The greatest stories of church planting and growth that I know come from those tiny churches—but only because those never-say-die brethren didn’t give up. Praise the Lord!