Build up the body of Christ. Support the Pentecost Offering.

small churches

Small churches have great blessings

What’s great about small churches? Lots, says the Rev. Ellie Johns-Kelley, Ministry Relations Officer for the Presbyterian Foundation. Small churches have strengths, she says, and those can be celebrated year-round, and especially during seasons of stewardship emphasis.

Liturgy helps cultivate gratitude

When I go to the gym and get on a treadmill, I sneak a look at the people around me. Who are they? How fast are they going? How steep an incline is their machine set at? Then I compare myself to one of them. Am I going faster? Is my incline steeper? Lately, it often seems that I’m much slower than my gym neighbors. They have better numbers showing on their machines.

Small churches are rich in assets money can’t buy

It seems that in today’s culture, the “bigger is better” philosophy is all around us. Supercenters, 75-inch flat-screen televisions and mega-sized smartphones have become the norm. The church is not immune to this growing trend (pun intended), as many communities are seeing the growth of the megachurch — churches with hundreds in worship, often across multiple campuses and varying service times. It is as if the larger the church membership becomes, the healthier the church is perceived to be, leaving smaller congregations often feeling inadequate. While megachurches may appear to be the new norm, statistics paint a different picture. 

Single-digit ministry can be successful

This isn’t a story about how a small church runs a big program. It’s not a story about how a small church grows into a bigger church. It’s a story about the lessons a group of adults learned from a handful of children as God challenged the adults to try something new.

How to start a local chapter of the Jesus Fan Club

When I was in middle school, my neighbor joined the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club. She got a great poster that looked like it had been signed by the pop star to hang on her wall. We swooned as we stared at it, sitting on her bed and listening to mix tapes. I wondered, as I stared and swooned, what it would be like to be such an insider, to be an actual member of the fan club and get special perks.

‘Cool’ churches are overrated

Like so many seminary students, I daydreamed about my future ministry while sitting in classes. By the time I graduated, I’d imagined my calling many times before actually experiencing my calling. I visualized cool programs, vibrant music and lively Bible discussions. I thought there would be children, youth groups and church retreats. Obviously, God thought differently.

Raising a healthy church family

Since my kids are out of the house, I figured I could finally donate the parenting books I’d gathered over the years. So many of the titles offered a nugget that helped me feel like I was not the only one navigating the complexity of parenthood. Into the box went some of my favorites — How to Behave So Your Children Will, Too and The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. As I packed, I realized that much of the parenting advice applies to leadership in small churches.

Small churches can thrive

I’d been on the job for about three months when it came time for the joint planning meeting with the session and deacons. It was my first call to a small congregation in a medium-sized building. I was old enough to remember what church was like back in the ’70s, when vacation Bible school was a community event and Christmas and Easter meant extra chairs around the perimeter of the sanctuary. The church to which I’d been called didn’t even fill up on the big holidays.

Small churches can reach young and old

Growing up, one of my favorite shows was Little House on the Prairie. The characters were old and young, likable and unlikable. Even though some (like the Olesons!) were petty and others made mistakes, they were always there for each other when it counted. Little House had story lines for both kids and adults on the show.

Closing churches due to size unthinkable in Cuba

It is simply inconceivable to the hardy band of Presbyterians who are the Presbyterian Mission in Camagüey that a denomination — whether it be the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC) or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — would close a church because it is too small. Though they are a small group of less than 25 in a large city — Camagüey is Cuba’s third largest city, with a population of some 300,000 — the members of the Presbyterian Mission here consider their ministry vital.