When I was invited in 2019 by Ron Johnson to join evangelical leaders to discuss what a study on small churches could look like, I jumped at the opportunity. I was excited when Rick Hiemstra and Lindsay Callahan from Evangelical Fellowship of Canada committed to leading this study. It has been a privilege for the EFCC to financially support the study and to have the chance to serve on the steering committee as we determined the questions, the participants and scope of the study.
I am so happy this is called “Significant Churches.” Too often we can assume that only big things are significant. Yet we know that our God loves to use us “no account” people to confound the wisdom and strength of this world (I Corinthians 1:18-31). There is no place for boasting in God’s Kingdom and His gospel works powerfully in our weakness. I commend this report to you. If you are a “small church” pastor I trust you are encouraged as you see the foibles and realities of your ministry represented here. If you are a large church pastor, I trust you will appreciate and remember to encourage your colleagues who minister in small churches.
Too often we can assume that only big things are significant.
The report will reaffirm what you may already know, but also surprise you at times. I was saddened to hear that many in small churches feel that their denomination doesn’t value them. I wasn’t surprised to read that seminaries don’t always train us for the realities we will face in small churches – things like “unwritten church covenants”, and the realities of shepherding beyond the pulpit and in very mundane ways. I was also sad to read how women pastors feel snubbed and unwelcomed by their male colleagues.
The EFCC has many smaller churches that are vibrant, loving communities of faith that are engaged in mission locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. These small churches are sometimes rural, sometimes urban, sometimes suburban. They are always significant. I’m sorry we don’t say it enough but “we love you, we are cheering for you, and we value you and your ministry!” You are a critical part of our EFCC family! We invested in this study on your behalf – please be encouraged as you read it!
Serving with you,
EFCC Executive Director