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Our favorite books related to the small church, collected over the life of the Summer Collegium project.
Helpful websites and denominational resources (some free!)
"The Smaller Congregation - Pathways in Challenging Times," copyrighted 2010 by the Alban Institute.  Used with permission.
A mission-driven plan for revitalization of a small church in Alberta, Canada
Links
Poll

On average, how many Sundays per year does your church cancel services for inclement weather?


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SMALL CHURCH RESOURCES
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A Resource for Small Churches - February 2011 Issue


Small Churches - Big Ideas is an e-resources guide, hosted by Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. This monthly mailing and our web page, www.vts.edu/smallchurches, are an attempt to reach the thousands of small-church clergy and lay leaders who are looking for resources to enhance the health of their congregations. They are not meant to be denominationally or theologically specific, nor are these resources only for clergy. We want them to be useful to all who work with, pray for, and love the small church.

Healthy Small Church Ministry

I just finished teaching a January term class on healthy small church ministry here at Virginia Seminary. I had a very enthusiastic class of M.Div. and Anglican Studies students, and one who graduated from VTS six years ago who is now serving a small church and came back to take the class. It was a great group of people, some of whom had grown up in small churches, some who were there to see what small church ministry might be like, some who knew they were called to ministry in the small congregation. It gives me hope to see their enthusiasm. It was great to give them what I think was a realistic look at small church ministry, not sugar-coated, but with a healthy dose of positive focus. As the church gets smaller, it is good to see that, challenging though it can be, seminarians are answering God’s call to ministry there.

 

-Marilyn Johns

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Overcoming Challenges in the Small Church with Prayer - by Bob Albing

Serving a small church has its unique challenges. Up until five years ago, when I moved to a rural community and began serving a small two-point parish, I had always had plenty of music talent available and active volunteer youth directors. Essentially I took it all for granted, and as they say, “ya don’t appreciate the water till the well runs dry”

 

When I started serving these congregations, the organist was 80+ years old and did not hear or see well. She often stared playing a hymn that was different than the one designated in the bulletin, she would lose her place in the service, her tempo varied greatly. It was time for her to retire. She did so, after a little pastoral encouragement.  Members of both churches were worried. “Who will want to play the organ in our little churches?” . . .

 

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Any Church can be a Transformational Church

The Southern Baptist Convention, which many see as a denomination of mega-churches, is recognizing the need for connection and support among its small congregations. This article, from the North American Mission Board of the SBC, highlights the work of bi-vocational ministers and the need for a different strategy for the small church.

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=34164
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The Results are In!

We want to thank everyone for participating in our informal polls, and would like to share the results we have recieved from the past few newsletters.

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Check out our website!
 
Bookmark the www.vts.edu/smallchurches page to find:
  • Encouragement in your important ministry
  • Downloadable resources and links
  • Videos of workshops and keynotes about the small church that you can use (free of charge) with your board or your whole church
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Visit us on Facebook!

We now have a Facebook Fanpage where small church leaders can talk to each other and to us about what works and what doesn't! Become part of the discussion by clicking here to visit us and other small church leaders today!
Monthly Small Church Resources from Virginia Seminary
 
This resource is compiled by Marilyn Johns, D.Min., project manager of The Summer Collegium, as an extension of that project.
 
If you would prefer not to receive this monthly mailing, please email cprather@vts.edu, and write “small church unsubscribe” in the subject line.  Send us your ideas for things you’d like to see, conferences or events for small churches you'd like to let us know about, or success stories of small congregations you’d like to share. Email Marilyn at smallchurches@vts.edu and help others benefit from your experience!