Being a small church pastor is not something to be ashamed. Most churches (approx 95%) are less than 350 people in “membership”. Some church leaders (especially church planters) will read that stat and say, ” I would love 349 people” or “350 is not a small church”. Truth is, if you have 300 in “membership”, then you probably have 150-200 in service on a given Sunday. Let’s go to another stat that will take some stress and anxiety off of you. Approx 85% of all churches are less less than 100 in membership. I believe the average Sunday attendance per church in North America is 75 people.
Instead of viewing your church or even yourself as a failure, make church health your goal for 2016. There are unhealthy mega churches. There are unhealthy small churches. The opposite of those 2 statements can be said as well. Health and numbers (butts in seats) don’t necessarily equate to a healthy church. I have seen some mega churches that were so unhealthy because they now had to “feed the monster” they created. FYI: I’m not calling Jesus’ Church a monster. That’s my lingo for – the more people you have coming, the more room you need which means you need more income to have more space, which means you need to keep people happy. Pretty soon 100% of the budget is going towards rent (or mortgage) /, salary and programs. I live in an area where there is a large military installation. In this area, a church has to grow 10-30% each year just ton remain at the same level of membership as the prior year purely due to attrition. (Military families move every few years)
I share all that to say – stop envying large churches. Embrace what the Lord has given you at this very moment. Your goal should never be to grow a large church. I’m pretty sure Jesus said He will be the one to do that 🙂 Your calling (as pastors, church planters and leaders) is to be faithful. Continue reading all that you can. When you are faithful and teachable you will be effective. Remember, God never told us to “go into all the world and only mega churches.”
Here is a great (and short) article about small church pastors:
Praying for healthy churches in 2016! God bless!