“A reformation may be in process in the way pastors do their work. It may turn out to be as significant as the theological reformation of the sixteenth century. I hope so. The signs are accumulating. The vocational reformation of our own time (if it turns out to be that) is a rediscovery of the pastoral work of the cure of souls. The phrase sounds antique. It is antique. But it is not obsolete. It catches up and coordinates, better than any other expression I am aware of, the unending warfare against sin and sorrow and the diligent cultivation of grace and faith to which the best pastors have consecrated themselves in every generation. Discovering the meaning of Scripture, developing a life of prayer, guiding growth into maturity. This is the pastoral work that is historically termed the cure of souls. The primary sense of ‘cura’ in Latin is ‘care’, with undertones of ‘cure’. The soul is the essence of the human personality. The cure of souls, then, is the Scripture-directed, prayer-shaped care that is devoted to persons singly or in groups, in settings sacred and profane. It is a determination to work at the center, to concentrate on the essential.” Eugene Peterson (author of The Message Bible), The Contemplative Pastor.
Here’s a fact. Over 75% of the 'organized' churches in America are smaller churches. So when pastoral 'success' is spelled BIG CHURCH, this leaves many godly men and women out of the loop, even though they are doing great work for Jesus in smaller established congregational settings.
Based on our ministry experiences, the 3-B Syndrome is rampant in the church (of all sizes) today. Most pastors live under the weight of this 3-B Syndrome which measures our "success" or 'failure" in ministry according to 1) the size of our BUILDINGS, 2) the BUCKS in the bank, and 3) the number of BUTTS in the seats! As we see it, it's time for pastors to throw off the shackles of the 3-B Syndrome. How about if we return to the original call of shepherding God's people into His presence, measuring our "success" in pastoral ministry by using a different standard?
Maybe it's time to rediscover THE SMALL CHURCH THAT WORKS?
Our goal is to make TSCTW into an on-line resource for those who want to refocus their pastoral ministry around Kingdom basics found in the New Testament. Our sense is that there is a ground-swell of pastors out there; a growing number of passionate shepherds who are growing weary of focusing their day-to-day efforts on 'doing church' or breaking the next growth barrier; those who still believe that the Holy Spirit can and will work through a smaller number of followers of Christ, even if the building isn't impressive in size, the bucks abundant, or the pews packed.
If this sounds like you, please join us. Drop us an email. Tell us your TSCTW story. Give us an overview of your journey as a pastor/shepherd of a smaller church. Share your joys and drown your sorrows. Sound off on your gripes, and be sure to tell us your dreams.
We firmly believe that God is not done with His Church. Jesus is not standing by waiting for our churches to break the 200-barrier before He can use us. Nor is the Holy Spirit done working powerful miracles through smaller groups of men, women, youth and children who are simply doing their best to practice the Kingdom presence of God, living out all He asks us to do.
We still believe in BIG miracles.
We believe that SMALL can be BIG.
OUR NEW BLOG SERIES: CONTEMPLATING THE PSALMS.
Join us as we take one calendar year (2013) to ponder the 150 Psalms. With 3 blogs per week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday), we'll get to Psalm 150 around Christmas time! Forgive me, if during this long journey, I take out my tuba from time to time and oom-pah along the way. Please feel free to sing along with us...or tune up your harmonica, guitar, or Jew’s harp, and play along with us. Hey, you might even want to try that comb and wax paper thing. Keep in mind, that through it all, it’s all about making a joyful noise unto the Lord. For His name’s sake. Enjoy the musical journey.