This week I took part in a subject at Malyon for professional development, ‘Leading the Small Church’ with Ian Hussey. Here is some of what I found interesting and thought to share this week:
Small Churches are unique in that there is an emphasis on relationship, culture and history. Having been established for often over hundreds of years, there are strong relational ties within the church. For example generations of families, great grandparents to great grandchildren. Or there are people who have been committed to the church for a few decades. Because of the small nature of the church, discipleship and mentorship happen organically and there seems to be a sense that teaching is still important but communicated one-on-one. Intergenerational relationships play a key part of ones maturity and growth within the small church context.
Secondly, the culture of the church, the ‘this is what we do here’, has been influenced as far back as the founding members of the church. The unwritten rules that govern everything a church does can be hard to see at first, but slowly become evident. It is often that the people of the church sway and influence the culture more than just the pastor presenting a vision of their own. It is key for newcomers and new pastors to understand this culture, ie. we are missional, we are hospitable, we are generous, we value our kids and youth, we focus on local outreach, we care for the foreigner, we encourage faith and work integration etc. (These are some of the cultural aspects of Windsor Road that I have noticed!)
Lastly, the history of the small church becomes a foundation. To be honest, this is something I am gradually piecing together. Interestingly, Rod Bullpitt was taking the subject with me! He was the pastor at Windsor Road between 1974-1975. He was able to talk to me about our church in the 70s! How awesome is that! History is a funny thing though, it shapes a community and also moves a community forward. With acknowledging the history, what has worked in the past and what has brought excitement, can be leveraged again. That the same DNA of the church can be remembered and reapplied into the current situation and context. A quote I found interesting, “Don’t do what the founders did. Think like the founders thought.” In saying, the ministry itself might look completely different, but the heart and mission behind it is the same as before.
So the key distinctives of a small church are a focus on relationships, culture and history. Here at Windsor Road, I believe we are rich in relationship, there is an engrained culture that glorifies God, and we share a rich history as one of the oldest Baptist churches in Brisbane. I was encouraged that we are a healthy small church, and that we can continue to grow together in these three aspects. How are our relationships going? How can we all contribute to moulding the culture of our community? And how can we together learn, or perhaps teach, of the rich history of Windsor Road?
See you Sunday,