If you pastor a small town church, you know that every giver matters, because every dollar matters. You and I don’t have the luxury of having millions of dollars in the bank. The median household income for a family in the community my church serves is $37,000. And believe me, most of the time our church isn’t getting close to ten percent of that. So, money is always a challenge, which is why you need to know the different types of givers in your church.
I have absolutely no problem with a pastor knowing what each person in the congregation gives, as long as they don’t show favoritism. Treating someone differently because of what they give isn’t necessarily favoritism, in most cases it’s about addressing each person where they are in their spiritual maturity. You engage them differently.
That’s what this post is for. It’s to share with you how we engage different types of givers. So, let’s get started.
If there’s one thing that frustrates me the most about small town pastors, it’s the assumptions they make about the churches they serve. They assume their church won’t change, so they never challenge them. They assume their church won’t grow, so they never inspire them. They assume their church’s best days are behind them, so they resign themselves to a slow and painful death. Be careful about the assumptions you make because your assumptions may be the biggest problem in your church.
The church I serve has defied every assumption. There’s absolutely no reason we should be where we are today. Churches in towns of 2,000 people shouldn’t average 600-700 people in weekend attendance. That’s unheard of.
They shouldn’t be able to start a new campus, buy a new building, and grow to 250-300 people in weekend attendance at that campus within the first two years.
Our staff is not that smart, we’re not even that talented, and we...
Ministry is hard. I hate saying that because it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m actually just stating a fact. According to the statistics, between sixty to eighty percent of those who enter the ministry will not make it past ten years. Less than fifteen percent of pastors will last long enough to retire from ministry.
This past December I celebrated seven years in full time ministry. I have a long way to go, but I can honestly say it’s been the most enjoyable seven years of my life. For me, I’m living my dream, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
There are seasons of stress, especially around big events or when we’re implementing new initiatives. There are times when the ministry has affected my marriage in a negative way.
There are moments where I would really like to tell someone what I’m thinking but I can’t. And on occasion I think to myself, you know I could make more money if I went and did something else.
I have these...
Everybody has to deal with some negative voices along life’s journey.
As a pastor, the biggest thing is to make sure you’re not a negative voice in someone else’s life. Of course, there are times when a negative truth must be spoken. But if you are constantly finding it necessary to speak negatively and share criticism, well, check your heart, preacher.
How should a pastor handle the negative voices that are louder and demand more attention than all the rest? I’ll share three ways, but first, let me share this next statement with you that I believe was Holy Spirit revealed. One recent morning, it rose up in my soul with great clarity.
I will not allow negative people to drive my daily decision making or create the agenda by which I lead God’s Church.
That sentence is now posted in my office. It actually fueled the thoughts that led to this article.
Dealing with negative people requires intentionality. Without a plan, drifting is not what happens. You...
Sometimes we make ministry harder than it should be. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy. We all know that’s not true. I’m just saying, it’s usually not as complicated as we make it out to be. I’m guessing that most small town churches could see substantial growth by just doing a few of the things on this list.
What occupies the majority of your time as a pastor?
If you’re assignment and giftings are anything like mine, you probably spend large blocks of time working toward the next opportunity for spoken ministry.
However, every pastor and every pastoral assignment is different. With these certain differences, each of us must decide where the majority of our time should be proactively focused.
I certainly recognize that I have a responsibility to develop our leadership and lead the congregation I serve. Recently though, I have come to the conclusion that as the leading voice in the pulpit, there are three things that I must do.
Assuming every person in your audience is in a right relationship with God is eternally dangerous. Presuming every individual in your congregation is presently right with God is just as erroneous. Of course, the smaller the congregation, the more accurate your...
As a pastor it can seem noble and even Biblical to try to be all things to all men. The apostle Paul even said as much in his letter to the church in Corinth.
“19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
But what if the expectations we are placing on ourselves are becoming the source of our stress and anxiety? What if we were never meant to be all things to all men? What if we were just meant to be exactly...
Can I make a confession? I’m not naturally a “people” person, which is unfortunate since I work in ministry, and ministry is all about serving people. It’s something I have to be aware of and something I have to work on. Jesus didn’t have this problem. Jesus seemed to be the most “people” person to ever walk this Earth, and we see it in how he leads.
Wherever Jesus was, crowds found him. On multiple occasions Jesus left one area to draw away from the crowds only to be followed to the next town. His influence literally changed the world.
The fame and popularity that so many leaders seek today Jesus accomplished 2,000 year ago without the use of TV, radio, newspapers, or the Internet. Let that sink in for a moment.
It truly was amazing.
You and I will never come close to having the influence of Jesus, but I think there are still some important leadership lessons we can learn.
Most small town churches are trying to do too much. In reality, you really only need to be good at about five things, and I would argue you could get by with being really good at three of them. For many years the church I serve has offered a great kid’s ministry, a great worship experience, and guest services that make guests feel like family. Throughout the years we’ve always grown in attendance, despite struggling to get groups going at our church and being even worse at missions. However, I think if we did all five of these well, we’d see even greater growth, and I believe you would as well. So, let’s take a look at each one.
If you’re looking to reach young families, kid’s ministry is the most important ministry in your church. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest struggles of the small town and rural church, and it doesn’t have to be. You can do kid’s ministry well with a small budget and even a small number of...