The priorities for California Southern Baptist Convention moving forward will be: seeing churches started in strength, not in survival mode, helping churches revitalize and catch a fresh wind in their sails, understanding and assisting small churches, and making evangelism the heart and soul of all we do.
Here, I’ll provide some insight into the small church initiative.
In California nearly 75 percent of all Southern Baptist churches are 100 members or fewer. With that number of small churches it is imperative for the Convention to understand the dynamics unique to small churches, and as a result, know better how to resource and serve them.
The first thing to understand is that small churches are not defective. Whatever stigma might be attached to small churches must be removed. We must come to a place of celebrating small churches’ place in the work of the Kingdom.
Our goal will not be to make the small church into a big church. Our goal will be to understand the small church and help it be the best and healthiest small church it can be.
I admit there is much we do not understand about small churches, but there are things we hope to learn. One thing we do understand is that all small churches are not the same: a small church in a city is much different than a small church in a rural setting. A small church that has a bivocational pastor is different than a small church that does not.
One size certainly does not fit all! We will not lump small churches together and treat them the same way.
As we learn new dynamics we will seek to join that small church in its mission to share the gospel with the people in the community where it is located.
Every church is not the same but every church is vital to expand the Kingdom. Whether the church has attendance of 10 or 10,000, each has a role to play in the effort to reach more than 33 million people in California who do not know Jesus Christ.
Small churches, we say thank you for your mission and ministry. We look forward to working with you and serving you!
See archives of Dr. Agee's previous Insights.