by Rachel Plank
A letter of practical advice and encouragement for small churches and small church pastors.

Dear Small Church,

You may not have the nicest church facility in your denomination, but you can steward what God has given you by regularly cleaning, painting, mowing the grass, and pulling the weeds.

You, small church pastor, may not have as much pastoral training as you would like, but you can offer your best to God by arriving an hour before service to have the church doors unlocked, lights on, and recorded music playing, letting the community know that the church is open for spiritual business.

You may not have an outgoing personality, but you can be at the door to shake hands and sincerely welcome every person to the service.

You may have a small congregation, but you can be prepared as if there were a hundred people ready to pour into the sanctuary, since every soul matters to the Savior.

Every soul matters to the Savior.

You may be discouraged by one of those lower-than-usual-attendance Sundays, but instead of pointing out the obvious you can say something to encourage the congregation and feed the sheep God has entrusted to you.You may not be the most talented speaker, but you can devote time to pray, study God’s Word, and illustrate your message so that you are not long or boring.

You may only have one or two young people who attend your church, but you can build a relationship with them and ensure they get to youth camps, special services, and conventions.

You may feel like your services are humdrum and boring, but you can seek God until His presence is manifest and do something special to celebrate Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Children’s Day, and other important holidays.

You may rarely have children to attend Sunday School, but you can always be prepared to have a class for them at a moment’s notice.

You may not have a nursery for mothers with babies, but you can have a changing table
installed — and perhaps a rocking chair — in a Sunday School room.

You may be the only one in the pre-Sunday night prayer meeting, but at least there was one that prayed, and you can be faithful to announce about the men’s and ladies’ prayer rooms every week.

Your congregation may feel they cannot afford to give to missions or be able to pay
evangelists for revival meetings, but you can designate each Wednesday night offering for these special categories.

You, small church parishioner, may feel you cannot afford to give your pastor a raise in
pay, but you should not let a year go by without reviewing the possibility of at least
adding a benefit — such as beef for the freezer, additional vacation days, or an all-expense paid trip to Dayton IHC.

You may feel like you have little influence, but God will say “well done” if you remain faithful to His cause, preserve your holy character, and give your best for the Kingdom.

About the Author

Rachel Plank is the wife of Rev. Harry Plank who pastored for twenty-seven years, a Conference President for nineteen years, and now travels as an evangelist. The Planks have three married sons and seven grandchildren.

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