BTW: Small is Different. And Different has Advantages

Dear Ones:

It was a shock for me. My thinking had been stuck in the expected.

But while teaching Worship and Sacraments to student pastors, I realized I could predict the congregations most likely to flourish. Not because their pastors were the best students. Or had brilliant denominational leadership. But because the pastors were working differently somehow. 

They worked a little off-script. With some different tools in their toolbox.

They weren’t trying to imitate big settings (then getting frustrated). They were using a distinctive set of strengths. They were finding unlikely local gifts. And treating them as worship gifts! Intuitively rather than consciously, they were deepening participation.

And here’s the shocking part: what they were doing would not work in large settings.  But in small congregations, well, . . .  these differences were advantages. Potent ones.

I spent the next decade exploring these unlikely advantages. With your help. 

At first, I noticed 4 distinctive advantages for small setting worship. Then 5. Now it’s up to seven. I suspect you’ll find more. You’re great at innovating. You have to be.

The key is we need to share these advantages. Then grow them. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to feel like small congregations are stuck with a model for church that isn’t working. One that never fit to begin with. And nothing is further from the truth. 

Remember the God whose rescue plan for all creation started with ordinary, overlooked folks?  In unexpected places? 

It still does. 

Stay tuned for posts on each of the 7 worship advantages for small congregations. And reach out. I cherish the conversations.

Thanks for your ministry,


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