Tag Archives: small church

Healthy Small Church Looks Inward and Outward for Purpose

As you leave the Texas Panhandle and cross the state line into Oklahoma, there is a quiet and almost extinct community. As you travel down the highway, you take a turn at an old, rundown gas station, which is not open on Sundays, and travel a few miles on the county road before…

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Keeping Ourselves–and Young People–Near the Cross

I’ve always been slightly jealous of congregations with “real” youth groups. You know the ones I’m talking about: the ones with well-painted and decorated class rooms. The ones with a full-time youth minister who, despite congregational complaints that he is an overpaid song leader, makes a difference in the lives of teenagers. The…

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Intergenerational Ministry: The Organic Ministry of Small Churches

Gary Portnoy’s chorus to the theme song of the great television sitcom Cheers reads, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.” Although these…

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Employing Your Church Bulletin for the Ministry of Spiritual Formation

Since graduating from seminary 12 years ago, I have walked alongside three small churches in three different states, and in each of these ministry contexts responsibility for the publication of the church bulletin has fallen to me. This has led me to reflect on the ideal purpose of the bulletin, which I have…

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Could Our Loss Be the Kingdom’s Gain?

I can remember those creaky wood floors, the smell of old Bibles and hymnals, and the sunlight on my face as I stood on the porch staring out at the tiny town my grandfather’s family had called home like it was yesterday. Laughter and excited greetings filled the air. One image, though, stands…

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Small Church, Big Heart

New Zealand is a small country with a small population (4.5 million). Perhaps because of this small size, we shouldn’t be surprised that the 25 or so congregations of churches of Christ in New Zealand reflect this by ranging from 5 to around 100 members. These congregations are probably very similar in many…

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Can You See Me Now? Women, Service, and the Small Church

A while back, I had an appointment with a new optometrist. She examined my eyes and then she changed my prescription (the one I had for at least ten years) and went on with her day. I wasn’t too happy about her change—the old prescription worked just fine. Last month, my left eye…

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How to Keep Your Rural Minister through the Harvest

The need of rural America for the redemptive promise and power of the gospel has never been greater. Rampant addiction, an unprecedented breakdown of the family, and rapidly aging and dwindling churches are among the greatest challenges facing this predominantly overlooked mission field. What has been affectionately described as the heartland of America,…

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