People who attend small churches react in various ways when they hear about the work and impact of the larger churches. Some are amazed at all the programs and the vast impact they have in their city. Others criticize them of numerous things.
I pastor a church that is definitely small. But I believe that we can have a significant impact on our city. We are in a time of transition and opportunity. So, in the next few months, here are some things we need to focus on.
1. Purpose that is Clear and Articulated
We need to clarify our purpose. Why does this church exist? As long as the purpose is unclear, we will not be focused. We may be busy doing many good things for the church and community, and it will certainly do some good. We’ll certainly see some results. But if our purpose can be clear, we can be direct in what we do.
Once our purpose is clear, we need to find ways to articulate it. Creatively “package” your purpose in a simple and brief sentence. It should make sense, and your people should be able to understand and articulate it. This becomes the driving force behind all that you do.
2. Atmosphere that is Inviting
You may not notice the atmosphere of your Sunday services, but others do; especially your guests. If your atmosphere is cold and uncaring, that will be a clear message to your guests that they are unwelcome. Cold and uncaring? No one wants to be like that. But when we get so busy with our programs and don’t go out of our way to pay attention to and care for people, we communicate a cold atmosphere.
So be intentional about caring for people. Greet everyone with a genuine smile and kind words. Make sure it comes from your heart. Communication from the heart goes right into the hearts of those who are recipients of that communication. Such communication says that people are valued and they will want to come and be among you.
3. Outreach that Connects the Community
Once you work on your purpose and atmosphere, make sure you develop outreach that is genuine and intentional. It should not be fake or for the purpose of bringing people to your meetings.
Genuine outreach says that you will reach out and love others even if they do not respond as you like. They may reject you, or never show up to your meetings. Still you are to continue to love and reach out. That’s real. That’s genuine. Anything beyond that is fake and needs to be rejected.
Intentional outreach can be a program, but it must be much more. Make it personal and intentional. Make it part of your lifestyle. You and everyone in your congregation can make outreach genuinely a part of your life, and intentionally focused on those in need. Such people are everywhere. They are often ignored and rejected by others. Jesus wants to reach them through you. Will you take the challenge and be intentional about it?
4. Teaching that Connects and Transforms
Connection implies connection with you and with God. Teach in a way that you impact their lives. Speak about their cares, hurts, struggles, and longings. This is what Jesus did. Make it simple, and touch their hearts. This way, you connect them with you.
Once they are connected to you, they can connect with Jesus. Give them a clear opportunity to say “yes” to a relationship with Jesus. This decision will be the most important one in their lives. No other decision can compare.
As you go along, remember that your intention is not to give them lots of information. The aim is also not for you to look good or intellectual. The aim is ongoing life transformation. The clear and simple teaching you give should be lived out in their lives. This is what transforms. If they don’t live it out, more information or deeper theological insights won’t do them any good. Connect them to you and to God, then transform.
Is your church small? That’s fine. Don’t worry about it. Size is no issue at all. Just make sure your purpose is clear, atmosphere is inviting, outreach in connecting, and that your teaching connects and transforms lives. Let’s do it together.