5 Ways Small Churches Can Have a Big Impact (and 14 Ideas to Make It Happen) by Rick Whitter

Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. Large churches have large budgets, several full-time staff members, and name recognition in the community. Small churches usually have none of those things. Yet that doesn’t make our desire to have an impact on our surrounding community any smaller. So, how do we reach out without big resources?

Here are some simple and practical ideas on how smaller churches can have big impact.

Know Your Strengths

Every church is good at something. Some are great at hospitality, some have good music, and some excel at compassion. Whatever gifts God has given you can help you reach out to your community. Assess what works for you and focus on that.

Know Your Limitations

Let’s face it, there are some things that our churches do not do well. It’s no shame to admit that. It is a shame if we try to use our weakness to reach our community. If your singers cannot carry a tune in a bucket, a Christmas cantata at the local mall may not be the best idea!

Use What God Has Given You

There is a Biblical principle that instructs us to be faithful with what we have been given before we expect to receive more (see Luke 16:10). When considering how you can reach out to your community, know who is on your team. What are their connections in the community? Where do they work, go to school, and play golf? This may be the avenue to connecting the church with the community.

Don’t Compete

While it may seem like it at times, your church is not in competition with other churches. Don’t model your outreach attempts on what the other churches are doing. Certainly don’t try to outdo larger churches. Be yourself, and then pray for success for all of the churches in your town.

Use a Different Measuring Stick

Do you get discouraged when you hear of a church that attracts 10,000 people to an event? If you lead a small church, those kinds of numbers could be overwhelming. Keep this in mind: numbers are relative. If your church is in a small town of 500, having 50 people attend an event is huge impact! A church of 100 that reaches 5 new families has done a remarkable thing.

Here are a few practical ideas of how a smaller church can impact their community:

  • Honor local school teachers with a luncheon.
  • Bake cookies for civil servants: police, fire fighters, military personnel.
  • Host an Independence Day picnic, including a color guard.
  • Enter a float in a community parade.
  • Honor local athletes and student scholars with a banquet.
  • Host an art exhibit for local artists.
  • Host a classic car show.
  • Feed the homeless.
  • Provide gift baskets for parents of new babies at the local hospital.
  • Host a recovery group or a reading club.
  • Provide manicures for local nursing home residents.
  • Have a clean up day at a local park.
  • Plant a community garden.
  • Open a food pantry.

While these events and others like them may seem small and don’t appear to have much spiritual impact, they will connect your church with the community. The community will be impacted, and ministry doors will open. Be creative and look around. Wherever there is a need, fill it! 

The bottom line is this: God placed your church in your community for a purpose. He wants you to influence those around you so that they may follow Him. Let’s develop our churches, whether they are large or small, to make a huge impact on the communities around us!

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