LifeWay / Small Church Study

The effectiveness of local church ministry often is jeopardized by poor organization,” said Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research. “Understanding God’s calling and the context of the church is important, but leadership requires knowing where you are, knowing where you need to go and knowing how to get there. Most small church pastors actively pursue the first two but many struggle with the third.”

I think LIfeWay has hit the mark with this small church study.  The small church has organizational issues because it has leadership issues.  Should the blame be placed on the pastor, the deacons, or the general structure of the small church?  I blame all of the above.  There is plenty of blame to go around for the small  church’s inability to maintain focus and organization. 

If small/rural churches are going to be effective they must be organized enough to honor their rich heritage while looking forward to a hope filled future.  The honest small church agrees on thier context and current condition.  Once a church knows where they are, the effective church mobilizes (organizes) around a biblical vision for the future. 

Follow the link below to Ed Stetzer’s blog to see the full study:

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 4:08 pm  Comments (5)  


  1. Mike,

    Take a look at my post next Monday. I’m addressing this study in detail. IMHO, I think this study has much GOOD news about the small church which was not reported in the Lifeway article. Check it out Monday.


  2. Les,
    I will look forward to it. There is a ton to celebrate about the small church. I do agree with the article though concerning many (not all but many) small churches and our inability to organize. I believe much of our organizational issues are directly related to short tenures from our pastors.

  3. This is a good study. Les’s post about it is excellent. The reporting of the study reflects the mind set that we are fighting against. In Madden, MS we are seeing God do things that the entire community can’t believe. Yet, by almost any denom. measuring stick we would not be growing or whatever. We had baptism Sunday (Julia was one of them by the way) and one was a 65 year old man. It was the harvest of years upon years of church efforts from the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches in the area.

    I don’t know how to communicate these thoughts anymore. I am more convinced than ever that I have very few answers. However, if I would have been expending the effort it would take to est. an effective organizational vision for reaching this community, then we would not be seeing the fruit that we are being blessed with. I am more convinced that simple Lord’s Day faithfulness, consistent expositional preaching, and people being empowered and encouraged to apply the gospel in their sphere of life is the key. But what do I know? We are just a country Church with budget short falls, no outreach program, and a inconsistent avg. worship attendance.

    I would also add the need for family driven discipleship.

  4. Sounds like great things are happening in Madden.

  5. I tend to agree with you. Knowing where your are going and how to get there can seem unattainable at times. I have been pastoring a small church for the past 8 months and I would be lying if I told you where we are going. Waiting on the Lord to create the wave can seem pointless at times, but it’s the only way to go forward and know that you will be following in the correct manner.

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