I have been a local church pastor for 23 years. During that time I have only pastored two churches; one small, and one medium size. I have friends who pastor mega churches. Personally, I have come to love small church ministry. When it is done right, small church ministry is a beautiful, God honoring, hope giving, Kingdom building enterprise. Please understand, I don’t have anything against medium and large churches, quite the contrary, I admire those who have the ability to lead such large, complex ministries.
One thing I have noticed, however, is that smaller churches, out of necessity, are more “hands-on” with the people in the church. In other words, ministers in large churches become administers. As a result, small churches tend to attract people with deep spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial difficulties. It is a puzzle to try and figure out how churches without resources can most effectively minister to so many needs.
This is where my church comes in. We are a small church committed to ministering to the disenfranchised and overlooked people in our community. My church is growing, but it is growing with people who have needs, not with people who have resources. Last year, about 1/3 of our total budget went toward benevolence. We are on track to exceed that amount this year. I cannot explain how we meet our budget, but we always do…somehow.
Part of our calling as a church is to help people find jobs. We offer training and mentoring and help in finding work. But recently, here is what I have run into: Because of the people we minister to, most of the work we find for them is less than full time and not much more than minimum wage. A large portion of the people we help have felonies on their records and have spent significant time incarcerated. These people have had very few opportunities in life and so, regardless of their age, they have to start at the entry level. The difficulty I am seeing now has to do with the price of gas. People working part-time for minimum wage barely make enough money to keep gas in their cars so they can get to and from work. It is both depressing and defeating. These people are hard working and want to better themselves, but they quickly get discouraged because they have little money left after they put gas in their vehicles. For some, it literally is better and more financially feasible not to work.
One of the major reasons they continue to work is because through our church we have tried to instill the dignity of work, regardless of the job or the size of the paycheck. But for some it is tough. And for us as a church, it is becoming more and more difficult to meet needs. The needs are far out pacing our resources.
I don’t mean to offend anyone, but maybe some of you who read my blogs will catch the vision of what my church is trying to do and will feel compelled to help us meet these needs. You can give to our church through the website, www.franklincommunitychurch.org. or, you can mail a check to the church (Franklin Community Church) at 200 Devrow Court, Franklin, TN 37064.
Thanks for reading and sharing.