John Loftness is among the finest pastors I know. Between 1981 and 2007 he pastored at Covenant Life Church. I treasure the time of service with John over those years and I am deeply grateful for his friendship that continues to this day.
In 2007 John became the senior pastor of Solid Rock Church (Riverdale, MD). So what was it like moving from a church of a couple thousand to a church of 200? John talked about the transition to a smaller church, and the advantages of a small church, in his message at our recent Pastors Conference: “The Advantage of the Small Church.”
John identified three specific advantages:
- Small forces you to focus on the fundamentals, but with flexibility.
- Small allows you to build one interconnected community.
- Small allows you to expand.
Here are few selected quotes from the message:
“What is a small church? I don’t think it is about numbers. I think it is about relationships. A small church is a church in which every member is able to participate personally with every other member.”
“My purpose is not to advocate for small churches or to label large churches as inherently bad. Both have their strengths and their weaknesses. I am here to address small church pastors. And here is my big point: In a large church the opportunity is excellence, but the challenge is relationships. In a small church the challenge is excellence, but the opportunity is relationships.”
“Small church pastor, my advice to you is to see that your church—by virtue of its size—has tremendous advantages that allow it to further Jesus’ mission in the world. You can build a God-glorifying, gospel-proclaiming community of interdependent people who bear fruit in the world for Jesus. You can do it with wonderful fruitfulness. You are in no way hindered from effectiveness because you are lacking in people or in certain qualities of excellence. Exploit your relational advantages. And in the meantime I would urge you to drop any program-driven, large-church-wannabe mentality that may be filling your dreams.”
I highly recommend John’s message to any pastor of a small church.
And I highly recommend John’s message to any pastor of a large church. John will help you think carefully and theologically about how you build.
Download and listen to the message here.