When considering churches to apply to for ministry positions, it is important to consider what type of church you feel God is calling you to. God has gifted every minister for different kinds of congregations. He has equipped each according to His will. All types of churches can serve God in their own unique ways that make the Kingdom known on earth. Knowing what type of church you may be gifted for can help you to hone your skills for the congregation you may serve in the future.
There is an enormous difference in the operation and community between large churches and small churches. Neither is better than the other, but each may be better than the other for certain Christians and certain ministers. In this article, I will discuss some of the differences between small churches and large churches to help people feeling called to ministry decide what type of training would best benefit them for their future service.
Small churches often exist in small, tight-knit communities. Small churches may, however, also exist in large cities where there are many options for places to worship. Small churches are not necessarily small because they are dying or resistant to growth, although those can be struggles in these churches. Many times, these churches draw in people from the surrounding community. There are usually close-knit congregations consisting of families and friends going back for generations.
Ministry in these types of churches is often relational. The pastor will be expected not just to preach on Sundays, but to be a friend and mentor to members of the congregation. The pastor will often do the visiting themselves when people are sick or in crisis. The pastor will often be the one offering pastoral care. The pastor may also take on duties such as cleaning the church, teaching a Sunday School class, or planning missions activities in the community. There are often fewer people on staff. Many times pastors in these churches take direction from a small board of Deacons or Elders, though this can vary based on denomination.
Pastors in small churches should be good at building relationships and good communicators. Gentleness and the ability to guide people through difficult times are essential. These pastors must be willing to create connections in the community and do tasks like going door to door to invite people to church. These pastors usually must be good planners and administrators as their tasks will vary.
Large churches typically do not have the same community vibe as smaller churches. Instead, small groups and Sunday School classes give members a chance to get to know a few others who attend. Large churches are generally able to secure funding to do missions work on a larger scale both locally and globally. Large churches tend to have a large staff with different paid positions for roles such as pastoral care, visitation, youth and children’s ministry, missions, and administrative duties.
A pastor of a large church will often spend a lot of time delegating duties and overseeing the activities and function of a church in addition to preaching. While these tasks may not fall directly on the minister as they would in a smaller church, the pastor will work with a large team and must be a good team-player while at the same time be willing to put their foot down and make decisions when necessary. The pastor may be expected to have a knowledge of technology and design sermon series and establish an online presence.
The beauty of the Kingdom of God is that it is diverse in its population, but unified in its mission. It takes all kinds of churches to fulfill the mission of God. Whatever kind of church you feel God is calling you to, I pray that you will hold to Christ and be blessed as you bless others.