"Small towns....are amazing fields of opportunity for young people with a blend of ambition, humility, and entrepreneurial spirit to build careers, assume leadership, and come to love a place and a people."
- Charlie Cotherman on rural ministry
"Go to the nearest, smallest church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months. If it doesn’t work out, find somewhere else. But don’t look for programs, don’t look for entertainment, and don’t look for a great preacher. A Christian congregation is not a glamorous place, not a romantic place. That’s what I always told people. If people were leaving my congregation to go to another place of work, I’d say, “The smallest church, the closest church, and stay there for 6 months.” Sometimes it doesn’t work. Some pastors are just incompetent. And some are flat out bad. So I don’t think that’s the answer to everything, but it’s a better place to start than going to the one with all the programs, the glitz, all that stuff." -Eugene Peterson.Then, this morning a Twitter post linking to 12 Reasons I Love My Smaller Church appeared on our feed. Simply written, it makes a strong argument for vibrant small churches - whether separate entities or churches WITHIN a church. It includes this statistic from a 2016 Barna survey:
…the largest group of American churchgoers attends services in a more intimate context. Almost half (46%) attend a church of 100 or fewer members. More than one-third (37%) attend a midsize church of over 100, but not larger than 499. One in 11 (9%) attends a church with between 500 and 999 attenders, and slightly fewer (8%) attend a very large church of 1,000 or more attendees. (www.barna.org)