I participate in many Facebook groups.
Actually, I’m a member of more than enough of these groups. However, my motive is mutual benevolence. I’m there to learn from others. I’m also present to help others when I can. There’s no better feeling for me than to know that I have been able to help another person.
Sometimes, a fellow minister just needs to ask some things out loud. There’s nothing like a safe environment in which to bounce ideas around.
Recently, I stumbled across this question. “What are the small church givens that should always be in place no matter the particular community or denomination, but are not talked about as much because they are given?”
The question called my mind to action. I interpreted “givens” to mean must-haves. And so I thought I’d share my list of must-haves with my Small Town Big Church, Kingdom-minded friends. They’re listed here without any thought given to the order in which they should come.
1) The external appearances of your campus and buildings is a given for me. You don’t have to have the newest or largest facilities to pursue neatness and cleanliness with excellence. Pretend that cleanliness is next to godliness. Go after the white glove award. Your appearance matters!
2) The friendliness factor can be easily sensed by first-time guests, and it costs nothing. The people who are coming to your worship services need a friend. They already have enough people where the relationship is mutual tolerance. Being friendly to the people you already know is not what I mean. I’m speaking about real hospitality, or kindness to strangers. Without it, you won’t grow much. Since Jesus is a friend of sinners, it only makes good sense that His followers be friendly to them too. Your friendliness matters!
3) On-site signage is a given too. Indication signs that point to what door to enter into and the service times are must-haves if you want new people in your services. Recently, I’ve even found it necessary to have signage on the grounds for parking. These indicate guest parking spots and give direction to grass lots for use when the paved one is congested. Your signage matters!
4) It’s a digital world in which we live. Any church without a website is without a front door. That’s because the average prospective guest who is unchurched will want to know something about your church before they will experience your service in person. Use that to your advantage and tell the story you want them to know. Said differently, instill in them a confirmation bias that you are the church that they’ve been looking for. A simple, no-frills website geared toward outsiders is a must-have. And please, make the service times and physical address prominent on the very front page. Your website matters!
5) My last item on this list is such a given that you might think of me as too obvious. Regardless of the community or the denomination, every church needs a pastor that cares. This person understands the grace of God and flows in humility. Every church needs a God-called servant leader who moves among the congregation with compassion. This individual will preach the Gospel with their life and their words. Your pastor matters!
Is your church missing the mark on any of these? How can you help? Your leadership probably already knows the need and would appreciate some help with the solution.
5 Must-Haves for the Small Town Big Church was written by Pastor William Strickland. He serves as Lead Pastor of Harvest Christian Center in the small town of Cantonment, Florida. He is also the Founder and Content Manager of a different perspective. William’s over twenty-five years of varied ministry experience include a seven-year tour of duty as a denominational executive, twelve years as a bi-vocational pastor, and a short stint as a radio evangelist.