healthy vital church

The small church can be the epicenter for a community. It can be the very lifeblood for a town.  On the other hand, there are small churches who have become invisible in an otherwise healthy community. What are the key fundamentals found in small churches who are and remain vital in their community?


First and foremost, small churches who are vital recognize and embrace their superpower of relationships. Small churches have the ability to recognize new people easily, know one another more deeply, and build authentic relationships more easily beyond the church and into the community. In larger churches, new people can be often unintentionally overlooked. Newer people may find it more difficult to assimilate into existing groups. At the small church there is one “big table” where everyone is seated rather than multiple smaller tables one might find at larger churches. Therefore, in the small church, finding a seat at the table is likely much easier for new people. 


Second, small vital churches choose to focus on one signature ministry. All churches have limited resources, but vital small churches seem to both embrace and manage this reality best. Rather than minimize the impact of their ministry by dividing their focus, energy, and resources in too many directions, they choose one. By choosing one (or maybe two) signature ministry, vital small churches are able to offer ministry excellence, concentrate building relationships with one key demographic, and leverage the resources God has provided them to steward in the best way possible.


Third, vital small churches partner with their clergy. The congregation appreciates the spiritual leadership of clergy yet doesn’t become dependent on the pastor to lead everything. Rather, the congregation understands and embraces their own roles and responsibilities as congregational leaders and partners with the clergy person as the spiritual leader. It is a healthy balance built on trust, transparency, communication, and covenant.


While there are other key fundamentals of healthy, vital small churches, these three foundational fundamentals will be found in most all healthy and vital small churches. Without the relational superpower, the focus of one signature ministry, and the clergy partnership, the other vitality building blocks will be difficult to build upon. These three fundamentals are the key to small churches remaining the epicenter of their community.


If your small church leaders are looking for resourcing and next steps to grow in health and vitality, consider these small church resources:


Mission Possible for the Small Church: Simplifying Leadership, Structure, and Ministries in Small Churches. This resource will help small church leaders walk through a conversation, analysis, and implementation of how to simplify their leadership, structure, and ministries to release more congregants into ministry.


Small Church Gathering:  This is the event designed with the small church in mind!  This big event for small churches will take place in multiple locations this fall. Gather a team, register, and join us in a location near you. If you don’t see a location near you, consider contacting your judicatory leader and hosting a Small Church Gathering!  Contact us for more information.