By Josh King
Just about a year and a half ago my family and I moved to Central Arkansas from the Great State so that I could take the pastorate of 2nd Baptist Church of Conway, Arkansas.
God blessed and in that short time it has grown into a large church. It was big before but it is now squarely in the large bracket.
In Texas, I pastored what most consider a small church—which was only compounded by the plethora of mega churches just a stone’s throw from our church’s shadow.
While I am constantly thankful to be where I am and to see God doing what He is doing, I have come to know firsthand that serving in a smaller context certainly comes with a few advantages.
By way of encouragement let me share a few with you.
1. You have more time for yourself and your family.
Pastoring in any setting is a busy endeavor but the load at a larger church is naturally, well, larger. There are more meetings and factors and challenges to work through.
In my previous setting it was not unusual for me to grab a few hours at the coffee shop and read ahead. This was life giving and something I really treasured.
I don’t have the time, really, to do that any longer. I would be lying if I didn’t occasionally find myself longing for a break to just run across the street to sit in a coffee shop again.
2. You can keep a healthy level of anonymity.
Simply put: If you lead a larger organization you’ll be recognized by more people.
In the past I could go through the week, living life, running errands, meeting people and it would be weeks before I would run into anyone outside of the church who knew who I was or what I did.
That’s not a bad thing. Over the past year and a half I can’t remember a time I went anywhere I wasn’t recognized, stopped, and spoken to. Let me just say, I love that. I really enjoy the social interactions and prefer it.
However, I can see how it changes the way I go about my day. Sometimes it would be nice to go about my day without the need to be “on,”—to be seen as Josh, and not always “Pastor Josh.”
3. You’re less likely to be on a lonely pedestal.
It’s inevitable: When you stand on a large stage people think you’re high and lifted up. Elevating people is a subconscious reaction when we see someone with any sort of platform.
When we see someone on a stage, behind a microphone, with lots of people listening we assume that person is worth listening to, a great leader and inherently better than us.
This is something we should combat. Regardless of the size of our platforms all ministry leaders are everyday people. No church leader is a perfect example of what we preach. We’re flawed humans.
When I led a smaller church it was easier for my congregation to have a more realistic view of who I was. They would see me on stage but they also saw me in my home or in their home, at dinner, or at ball games.
The isolated pedestal works against what I am trying to do, which is leading them in walking with God—while walking alongside them. If they see me as an out-of-reach example they’re less likely to move forward in faith, or even their own leadership development.
Let me be clear: I love my church. There are few things that bring me more joy than leading my church family and ministering in this amazing city. That truth does not, however, negate the benefits of serving in a smaller context.
If you serve in a smaller congregation than you envisioned for yourself, be encouraged. There are advantages to leading a small church—not just for you, but for your congregation and your community. Embrace it, and steward it well for His glory.
JOSH KING (@JoWiKi) is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas, husband of Jacki, and father of three boys. You can listen to his podcast at EST.church.