The Privilege of Pastoring a Small Church


I have been a pastor for well over 50 years. I pastored several different churches when I was starting out, but then spent 35 years as pastor of the last church I pastored. In America we often measure how successful a pastor is by the size of his church. If a lot of people attend his church, he is an important man. If not many come, he must not as significant. I had that idea but God taught me it wasn’t true. The church I pastored was small when I started and still small 35 years later when I let another man take over for me. A lot of people had come and gone and God had done many great things through the church, but it was never large. Many times, we only had 20 or less people in our services. For a few years we had 70 people, but then many of them left.

God was teaching me that He isn’t impressed with the size of a church but with the spiritual health of a church. A lot of churches are mentioned in the New Testament. We know if they were faithfully serving Jesus or not, but we don’t know the size of any of them. That isn’t the most important thing to God and it shouldn’t be to us, either.

Perhaps you think less of me because I didn’t pastor a large church. What matters is that God doesn’t think less of me because this is the church and the number of people He gave me. It was His will for it to be the size it was. In fact, there are many advantages of pastoring a small church.

For years I tried to do everything I could to make my church grow larger. Three new people would start coming, but then 4 others would leave. It just wasn’t God’s will for me to pastor a large church. Being large does not mean a church is spiritually healthy, and being small doesn’t mean a church isn’t doing all God wants it to do. Some large churches are not helping people mature and grow closer to Jesus while some smaller churches do a wonderful job of that. I used to think there was something wrong with me because my church didn’t grow in numbers. Then I realized God had given me spiritual gifts in other areas and not church growth. I am not gifted at evangelism, but I am gifted in other areas. I love to teach and counsel people. I enjoy mentoring pastors.

No pastor has all the spiritual gifts, so we must focus on doing what God has given us to do. Not all doctors bring babies into the world. Some must help them grow and others take care of them when they are old. The same is true of pastors.

Jesus is not impressed with the size of our church or the amount of money in the offering. Remember the widow who brought 2 mites to Jesus? It was not the size of the gift that made Him glad but the love and dedication in her heart. God does not need our money or our skills. He can do fine without them for everything is His. What He does want from us is our love and service, wherever He has placed us. That is something we can give Him.

Pastoring a small church had many advantages for me. It allowed me to know everyone very well. I was part of their lives and they were part of mine. It allowed me time to be involved in other ministries outside my church, like spiritual warfare, discipling children and teens and training pastors in India. My family was involved in my ministry and I had more time with them. God used my small church to stretch my faith, to give me a closer view of Him working in people’s lives, to give me time to minister to other pastors and Christians who weren’t in my church, to build into the lives of my children and to continue the process of making me more like Jesus. It isn’t a failure to pastor a small church. It’s a privilege!

Matthew 16:18  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Do you evaluate other pastors by the size of their church? Do you think pastors of large churches are more important people than those of small churches?

Do you evaluate your own success in ministry by the size of the group you speak to? If so, confess your pride and submit yourself as a humble, unworthy servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Christian Training Organization

(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)

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