Encouragement for Small Church Pastors

I was encouraged today listening on my drive home to Matt Chandler’s lecture called, Big Church, Little Church.

Matt Chandler (who has over 12,000 attending his church last I heard):

“I’ve often told guys who desire big churches that my fantasy at night when I’m laying in bed is not about women. It’s not about money. It’s about just being responsible for 80 souls in front of God according to Hebrews. And so to have to stand in front of God and give an account with all he’s entrusted to me is a bit terrifying for me. I’d much rather just have 80 souls like, ‘I gave it my best.'”

This reminds me of what Mark Dever often says quoting John Brown in a letter of paternal counsels to one of his pupils newly ordained over a small congregation:

“I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.”

The verse they refer to is Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

I was encouraged when I heard Chandler say this. I’ve been responsible for 45 souls at CrossView Church. I’ll be responsible for a few more souls in the coming weeks (Lord-willing). I often dream of a healthy church-planting, church revitalizing church of anywhere from 200-700 members. But having a brother like Matt say that he fantasizes over a situation like mine when I can only dream of a situation like his is jarring. I don’t appreciate the simplicity and joy of knowing every member and shepherding them with greater care than I ever could 200 or 700 members. These are the days to be content in the Lord and rejoice. And if I ever had to shepherd more, it would still be a day to be content in the Lord and rejoice. Faithfulness to our Chief Pastor is the issue and privilege.

About pjtibayan

P. J. loves Jesus Christ and lives to share life and share Jesus together with Bethany Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County. P. J. has been pastoring since 2002 and earned a doctorate in biblical theology from Southern Seminary (D.Min.). He blogs regularly at gospelize.me
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