Leadership in Small Churches inspires and equips men and women who are called to serve in churches of less than 100 people, which are the majority of churches in the United States. Small churches in the United States suffer from a lack of leadership. On the one hand, there is a shortage of leaders. On the other hand, leaders who serve faithfully sometimes feel ill-equipped to carry out their calling due to inadequate training, especially a lack of training specific to small churches. This volume provides guidance from scholars and practitioners with experience in small churches. Because of their experience in and commitment to ministry in small churches, these writers are well qualified to discuss the breadth of topics in this book. These topics include developing vision, handling conflict, pastoral care, preaching, discipleship, ministry to youth and children, missions, and identifying and training leaders.
Ben D. Craver is professor of Theological Studies and coordinator of Christian Studies Programs at Wayland Baptist University.
Kelly Malone is director of Global Education, professor of Intercultural Studies, and holds the Jack Stanton Chair of Evangelism at Southwest Baptist University.
Introduction: Hope for Small Churches by Kelly Malone
1. The Church and Expectations of the Pastor by Bob Perry
2. Nurturing Momentum in Small Churches by Larry Tarver
3.Handling Conflict in the Small Church by Doran McCarty
4. Pastoral Care in Small Churches by Ben D. Craver
5.Preaching in the Small Church by Mike Fuhrman
6.Discipleship in Small Churches by Jonathan Grenz
7.Global Missions for Smaller Churches by Dennis Horton
8.Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry in Rural Churches by Duke Jones
9. Preparing Students for Small Church Ministry by Kenneth Gore
10. Preparing Bi-Vocational Pastors for the Small Church by Rod Earls
11. Responding to the Shortage of Pastors in Rural Churches: Some Lessons from
Global Missions by Kelly Malone
Conclusion by Ben Craver
God is still calling men to pastor small churches. Some of these men are seminary graduates while others are laymen raised up within their churches to lead. Regardless of their background and education, most of these men receive little training in how to lead a small church. Leadership in Small Churches provides practical guidance for first time small church pastors. I plan to use this book with men serving for the first time in a small church. It provides practical guidance on how to navigate the most common issues a pastor faces in a small church. If you pastor a small church, or if you are planning to serve as pastor in a small church, I highly recommend this book!
Ben Craver and Kelly Malone have enlisted a team of fellow Baptist pastors, association leaders, and academics, all with significant pastoral experience, to create a robust resource for leaders in small churches. Their book is brimming with pastoral wisdom, real-world examples, practical strategies and solutions—all presented with passion and self-deprecating humor. Clearly, they understand and love the small church. This book will “instruct and inspire hope in both present and future leaders of small churches.”
“Methodist church consultant Kennon Callahan observed that God must genuinely love small churches since he made so many of them. Callahan recognized that size does not equal strength when it comes to churches. It is possible, he argued, to lead a small, strong congregation. Lyle Schaller reminded us that small churches and large churches are not merely a matter of scale, like houses and hotels. They are more like horses and hotels. They share some common letters in their name, but the comparison ends there.
All this implies that leading a small church toward strength and ministry requires a different understanding than is commonly offered by the one-size-fits-all approaches of books on church leadership and ministry. “Successful” megachurch pastors pass on their “secrets,” and pastors of small congregations intuitively know that they cannot replicate those in their church. Kelly Malone and his team of writers have done a service for the many pastors who serve small congregations across this country. Here is customized wisdom for these faithful servants that includes every important aspect of the pastoral work in that context, including preaching, pastoral care, conflict, discipleship, missions, and age-group ministry. I heartily commend this as a handbook for pastors in smaller settings and as a textbook in colleges and seminaries preparing pastors to serve in these blessed congregations.”
Leadership in Small Churches is a welcome addition to the nascent field of study about normal-sized congregations. It neither idealizes nor condescends to its subject matter. Instead, it offers sound insight and practical help to small-church leaders and those who wish to have a better understanding of the vital, but often-overlooked role of smaller congregations.