Recently I had a person I did not know, but obviously followed me on social media, come up to me and criticize me by asking, “Why do you spend so much time in small churches and with average pastors. You should focus on churches that can give the most money and pastors that are the most gifted.”
This person argued that the health and future of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and state conventions depended mainly on fostering relationships with large churches that had large budgets and the men who pastor such churches.
Well, I have, in fact, spent a lot of time preaching in small churches and visiting with “average” pastors (I’ve spent a lot of time with big churches and their pastors, too). I have already written about the importance of smaller in attendance churches and how they actually make up the strong majority of churches not just in our state convention, but in the whole SBC. That all of our churches partner together in giving through the Cooperative Program is what matters far more than the size of church and the amount it gives.
The beauty of the Cooperative Program is that it enables all churches, large or small, rural or urban, to partner together to fund missions and ministries in ways they could never do alone. All of our churches are important!
But in this article, I want to focus on this person’s comment about “average” pastors. Allow me to tell you a few things about “average” pastors. They will, in all likelihood, never pastor a big church, preach in front of a large crowd, speak at conferences, write a book or become famous.
Many are overworked, underpaid or hardly paid and hold more than one job. Many serve in difficult, isolated places where the fruit of their labors is often not readily seen. They will, however, pour all they can into Sunday’s sermon, preach funerals, show up at the hospital, answer the phone when someone is in need, talk to your child about salvation, give counsel to people facing incredibly difficult/complex things in life, endure the constant weight of people’s criticisms and expectations—and they will do all of this in obscurity with few accolades.
So, I think these “average” pastors are actually quite extraordinary and models of faithfulness to Christ. They do what they do, not for reward or recognition, but out of their love for God and people. They are deserving of encouragement and investment, not to mention they lead the vast majority of churches in our denomination.
Yes, churches of every size, including small churches, are critically important—and so are their pastors! If you are a church member with an “average” pastor, be thankful for his faithfulness and encourage him today! If you are an “average” pastor, please remember there is nothing average about you. Press on in your important ministry!