By Dr. Derek McAleer, Director of Administrative Services
There are five little words that, when put together a certain way, are killing Methodism in South Georgia: We’re just a small church.
These five words have acquired a certain power, and I am ready to see their influence taken away.
These five words can be used as a way to excuse, to defend, and to dismiss. But their real impact is felt when the words take the heart out of mission, evangelism, and worship. When given credibility, these words can sap the will and vitality of a church.
We say “we’re just a small church” as if:
- this excuses lack of effort (“we're just a small church, so we can’t ...”).
- this explains why we don’t grow (“no one wants to come to a small church because…”).
- being a small church is somehow a fault or a flaw.
- “small” equals “no potential,” “no capacity,” or “no options.”
- something small cannot be responsible.
- something small doesn’t need to strive for excellence.
- something small cannot lead.
- God’s expectations are lower for a small church than any other kind of church.
Small colleges do not dismiss themselves. They promote their strengths – small class size and personal attention from professors. They strive to be the very best small college.
Small banks do not dismiss themselves. They promote the services they can offer and the customer attention they can provide to their communities. They strive to the be the very best small bank.
Small laboratories do not dismiss themselves. They determine they will offer essential insight and groundbreaking advances in their lab. They strive to the be the very best small laboratory.
Small law firms do not dismiss themselves. I wouldn’t go to an attorney who said, “We don’t worry about every little word in our wills because we’re just a small firm. Our wills are good enough for us.” No, they look at every single word. They strive to the be the very best small law firm.
Hear me, small churches: Do not dismiss yourselves! Strive to be the very best small church.
There is no such thing as “just” a small church. In the South Georgia Conference, 44 percent of our churches have 25 or fewer people in attendance on a Sunday morning (67 percent have less than 50). When these churches are deceived into thinking they are “just” a small church, the impact is great. Small churches are important – in South Georgia and in the Kingdom of God.
Friends, small churches CAN be effective in their mission. They CAN have excellence in their teaching and Bible study. Their worship services CAN bring people to the throne of grace. They CAN impact their communities for the gospel.
Let’s shake off this “we’re just a small church” mentality and flex our spiritual muscles. Let’s take away the influence of these five words and seek ways we can BE THE CHURCH!