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Small Churches and the Circuit Pastor

I have been reading a lot of material about grant writing in the age of an uncertain economy.  One of the things that has caught my eye is that grantors are looking to fund groups that are willing to cooperate.  The example given was how three groups came together and were willing to share a development coordinator with each group getting $50K to fund the $150k salary and expenses needed to get a person with the education and experience they group needed.

Small Baptist churches are having a hard time getting educated experience ministers to come and to serve them.  They are having even a harder time paying them.   Many of the smaller church were talked into selling their parsonages during the “prosperous” 80’s and 90’s with the idea that a minster could buy his own house.  Now, with the housing market gone crazy and the economy so unstable, churches without a parsonage are at a disadvantage in calling pastors of the caliber and energy they need.   No one in the ministry wants to take the chance of being stuck with a house they might not be able to sell.  Give the capricious nature of many small stressed out churches, this is understandable.

What if churches would cooperatively participate in sharing the skills and services of a well trained, committed minister?  Yes, there would need to be compromises on service times and office hours, but the trade off would be getting well thought our sermons, skilled spiritual counsel and education support to equip the saints rather than just getting someone who will use them as a stepping stone to something else.  And if churches would do this they would have more money to do ministry.

Add to this the concept of a ministerial guild to help make sure the pastors these churches got were accountable and peer supported and you have the framework for bringing life back into the smaller churches who are struggling just to keep the doors open.  The guild would be responsible for ongoing educational and professional training as well as screening out the sexual predators  and deceptive opportunists who are in ministry for money.

Just an idea, but would love to hear your thought on this concept.

2 thoughts on “Small Churches and the Circuit Pastor

  1. David,

    There is another angle to this idea of cooperation. The church I serve does not own a building. We lease space from a generous Lutheran congregation. So, there are two churches that meet in the same building, yet at different times.

    We have found this arrangement a blessing for both congregations. I believe mutually beneficial arrangements, such as the one I enjoy (and the one you discuss), will be more numerous in the future.

    Economic reality will force us to become very creative. This is not a bad thing.

    Sincerely,

    MR

  2. We have opened our doors to a Hispanic CHURCH and they pay for almost half of the utilities. You are right, we must get creative and cooperative in a real sense.

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