A Small Church Redefines Its Mission

by Richard H. Bliese. The Christian Century, July 12, 2003. Accessed April 14, 2017.

Here Richard Bliese, former Lutheran School of Theology professor of mission and evangelism, dispels the negative myths about the small church’s future. He says that “Breaking the myth of size means realizing that small churches are not necessarily premature, illegitimate, malnourished or incomplete versions of ‘real’ churches. Small congregations are the right size to be all that God calls a church to be.” Bliese affirms small congregations as he shares the history and transformation story of St. Andrew, a church he once served. St. Andrew began its transformation with a structural change that soon led to a vision and mission that included two critical elements: “meaningful worship and meaningful meals.” Bliese also suggests that part-time or bi-vocational clergy may offer a better model for congregational mission. Bliese’s pastoral experience offers hope and encouragement to small congregations and their leaders. His work can be an excellent conversation starter. The article is available by subscribing to "The Christian Century" for a nominal fee.