Small church is a big issue. Not only for the Baptist Union of Great Britain, where approximately 1000 of our churches have a membership of 40 people or less, but for many other countries around the world. Small numbers of God's people are meeting in many strategic places and making a big impact in their communities.
My job title is 'Small Church Enabler' for the London Baptist Association and my task is to encourage the 100 or so churches in London with 40 people or less. This is done in many ways, by visiting, resourcing, leading services, away days and leading the Baptists Together Re:Focus programme
. I also head up the Small Church Connexion
, the network which hosts events twice a year for the small churches, sends out newsletters and organises the LBA database for preachers and worship leaders.
A few years ago, we were constantly being asked for good resources for small churches. There are plenty of resources for small groups, which are not the same thing at all! Most resources are designed for larger numbers.
I was moaning about this lack of resource to God one day, as I was heading into London on the tube. What could I do to help? There are no resources. I felt Him say 'Stop moaning, and write one!'
So with help and advice, I did and in October 2007 the Toolbox for Small Churches
was published. So far, nearly 4000 copies have been distributed throughout the UK and abroad, and the 'Tools' section of the book is on the Baptists Together website.
I was visiting a minister in 2008 and he encouraged me to think globally about the book. 'It’s a good resource that needs to be shared' he told me. I don’t know much about technology so I watched as he set up a blog for me on wordpress.com.
I haven't really done anything with it until this year when I was prompted to take it seriously. I found a friend to help who is a whizz at all things technical, and the blog was resurrected in May. The address is https://smallchurches.wordpress.com/
The plan is to put useful ideas, resources and stories on the blog and ask people to share their ideas with me. Small churches often feel neglected, weak and powerless and so need to be built up.
Church really isn’t about numbers, it's about health. A small number of people can be a healthy growing church. I am passionate about giving the small churches a helping hand to fulfil their calling from God in their location, in their community.