Encouragement for Small Congregations

Thanks to Shane for reminding us of some earlier work by William Willimon.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Thanks James!

    That was a very encouraging article indeed.

    In a world where bigger is better, a small church like ours on the brink of extinction, we are reminded that God loves his little churches. Pray for All Saints. We are under tremendous pressure to reproduce very quickly.

  2. Greetings to all! May you all have a Blessed Easter!

    Indeed, that was a very good and encouraging article.

    My personal testimony is that I have attended a wide range of denominations and a wide range of big and small churches. It seems as if some of the best Preachers and Pastors (making note of both functions) faithfully take care of the small churches. Of course, there are some good Preachers and Pastors of large churches, although they generally tend to be a good Preacher but a less good Pastor.

    Therefore, speaking generally, in your difficult times when you need personal counseling from your Pastor, whom would you want? Would you want the Senior Minister of a large church who neither has the time for you, nor has the personal knowledge of you, and does not really care that much about you? Or, would you rather have the Pastor of the small church who is eagerly waiting to counsel you, who knows enough about you to really help you, and who deeply cares about you?

    Finally, if faithful discipline and faithful administration of the sacraments are two out of the three marks of a true church, then it seems to me that small churches can better handle these duties. Thank you.

    Yours truly,

  3. Much like the laundry scattered about my living room, so are my thoughts this Monday morning. As the wife of a pastor of a “smallish” reformed congregation these words are indeed encouraging.

    Just this morning I was feeling sorry for myself as I tallied up those not in attendance at yesterday’s services — many having traded in our body for a “bigger and better” version. My flesh desires for God’s people to acknowledge my husband’s work and sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom. Why doesn’t everyone come to our church? Is there something we could be doing differently?

    After reading both the Table Talk article and Shane’s, I am not only encouraged but convicted as well. This past Friday, we had the privilege of participating in a joint service with two other small congregations. I was overwhelmed then, as I am now, with recognition of our Lord’s faithfulness and my ungrateful nature. So blessed was I by the faithful proclamation of the Word as well as the sweet fellowship of the saints here in eastern Washington.

    Thank you for the links and the needed reminder,

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