- The largest problem with small congregations is an “inferiority complex”. We must get rid of the idea that “small is bad”. After all, before 1950 unless you were in a big city you were probably a small church.
- Every single small church Dr. Ray has seen fail is because of one reason…Negativity. “A negative attitude kills a small church long before a lack of money, resources or a lack of membership ever could”.
- No successful small church considers being small “bad”. They have a sense of family. A sense of, “We take care of each other”.
- Ask yourself, “Why you want to grow?” If the answer is anything other than, “to spread the gospel” it’s the wrong answer.
- At the last judgment God will not ask, “Were you successful?”…But, “Were you faithful?” Focus on what is important.
- Small churches cannot be good at everything. Pick your strengths and play to them. After all, David did not slay Goliath with Saul’s sword. David used what worked for him.
- Be size appropriate. Pick hymns and liturgy that work for a small parish. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Pick hymns easy to sing and music people like.
- Don’t forget, big mega churches even have to use “small church ministry groups” to be successful. A small church really does it better than they do anyway.
- “Small churches are hard to join and are even harder to get out of.” A lot of people like anonymity. They want to be lost in the crowd. Many people don’t want to be bothered. People that join a small church love relationships. They don’t mind being called up and asked, “What happened to you on Sunday?”…“It’s hard to leave a small church because…People will hunt you down.”
- Small churches that are successful are not self absorbed, but look outward. Find some community projects and do them.
- Small churches do wonderfully at: Carry-ins, birthdays, graduations…Really any excuse to eat and socialize. Do those things often!
- Identify one person in the parish that has “something to catch”. (i.e., a cheerleader, a deep faith, a positive attitude) and replicate it.
- “The Moth Principle”…People are like moths. They are attracted by light and warmth. Give out both of these things…Always!
- Just identify one problem every couple of months and solve it!
- Don’t get hung-up on “we must have young people.” Don’t ignore trying to get young people…But, remember every single one of us are getting older and there is always a “new crop of older folks coming-up”…In fact, wait long enough and you will be one of them. One parish in Florida never gained a person under forty-five but grew from eight members to over a hundred members in five years by being loving, faithful and just having a “good time”.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Take-aways from a small church conference presented by Dr. David Ray. David Ray is a small church pastor and small church coach. He has taught classes on the small church in seminary and has advised numerous small churches around the country. Here are some of the highlights as cataloged from a brother presbyter in the REC:I'm sure happy to belong to a small church family.