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Ways larger churches can support smaller ones

How can big churches support smaller churches? Baptist minister Michael Shaw shares eight ideas

Partnership700 1

I used to be part of a project called re:Source Bristol which aimed to partner small and larger churches together for mission. It had some successes where small churches were open to the idea of help, and where large churches were willing to get involved without controlling. But it also had some failures where larger churches (in particular) were too concerned with their own lack of resources to engage with smaller churches just down the road. 

So how can larger churches support smaller churches as they seek to engage in mission? Here are eight ideas you can start with:
  1. Listen - don't assume that what works in your church will work in other areas. Take time to listen to people from smaller churches.
  2. Equip - make your discipleship/leadership programmes open to other local churches
  3. Resource - we live in a manse paid for by a legacy given to another local church, a legacy they did not need. Could you do the same?
  4. Release - could you release an associate or a youth/children's worker to work one or two days in a smaller church, or could your administrator do some of theirs, or could a member of your treasury team look after the books of another church as well?
  5. Bless - if you have a standing order form, could you add a tick box that 10 per cent of their giving goes directly to support ministry at a partner church (not Home Mission or BMS) or could your gift day become part of a fund to help mission in other contexts locally?
  6. Challenge - there may be an issue of power, or issues of control that have left the church small - do not be afraid to challenge those issues. Don't just give but partner!
  7. Adopt - get one of your small groups to adopt a smaller church (possibly where there is an obvious local/geographical link). They could help occasionally with leading worship, providing service leaders or preachers.
  8. Share - tell stories of what you are doing with other large church leaders - encourage them to do the same.

Picture: Freely photos

The Revd Michael Shaw is minister of Devonport Community Baptist Church, Plymouth

Baptist Times, 21/03/2016
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