Serve the Smaller Church

Invest in their children's leader

by Dick Gruber, D.Min./ January 26, 2016

What could happen if larger churches chose to help the smaller churches in their area? I checked my denominational statistics one year and found in that particular calendar year, 86.4 percent of our American churches had fewer than 35 children attending. Even if today’s figure was lower by a few percentage points, that leaves a staggering number of smaller churches in this country. Most of these are unable or unwilling to hire a children’s pastor.

Serving the Smaller Church

I believe God has raised up large churches to be a blessing to small ones. God has allowed me to serve in a couple of medium to large churches, as well as a few smaller ones. Serving in churches with more than 400 children each Sunday carries with it administrative and ministerial challenges. I know, I’ve been there.  The large church children’s pastor cannot use these as an excuse to ignore the smaller works in his or her area. Let me share with you some ideas on how you can be an incredible blessing to a smaller work.

  • Fellowship and prayer—Reach out to the smaller church children’s leader. Buy them coffee, lunch, or an hour of encouragement. Invite them to ride along with you and your staff to district or interdenominational children’s ministry meetings. Pray together each time you meet and let them know that you pray for them regularly.
  • Training—The large church leader, more often than not, has scheduled training times and special events for his leadership force. Invite the small church leader to take part in these times at no cost. Repurpose and pass on training helps, magazines, and supplies. Invite them to go with you to larger training events.
  • Supplies and curriculum—If your church is like most larger churches, there is a closet, or closets,  stacked with last year’s (or many years’ worth) VBS and other curriculums. After taking inventory, you may discover that your church has an abundance of extra craft supplies, puppets, or other KidMin materials. Share these with the smaller church. I have been on both the giving and receiving end of this. One large church I served in had more than double the scissors, glue sticks, and paper needed to succeed in the following calendar year. We packed up much of this and blessed an urban church plant. The church plant I participate in now has received Christmas music and program materials, VBS curriculum, and other supplies from larger churches in our area. It is a blessing to give and receive.
  • Encouragement—Finally, look for ways to constantly encourage those serving in the smaller churches. It can be incredibly lonely serving with a small or nonexistent staff in a smaller work. A kind note, gift card, email, text, or call can boost the leader’s enthusiasm for days following its arrival.
Think about what it was like when you were a volunteer in a smaller work. Do all you can to insure that those in your area feel loved, appreciated, and blessed. You may be taking part in raising up a future best friend, children’s ministry specialist, or national leader. Do what you can today to bless the smaller church KidMin in your neighborhood this week.