Preaching in the Small Membership Church

by Lewis A. Parks. Abingdon Press, 2009.

“Worship is the most important thing small membership churches do, and preaching is the heart of worship.” So claims a veteran pastor and pastor-trainer in this wise and practical book. Demonstrating a deep understanding and love for the small membership congregation, Parks identifies ten roles that the preacher fulfills. He describes the particulars of each one and offers expert navigation advice. For example, the first chapter, “The Preacher as Student of Scripture”, touches on the need for dedicated study space, discusses key tools such as how to choose a scripture translation and what to look for in a commentary, and describes disciplines that serve scripture study. There are reading recommendations for each topic and most are still available despite older publication dates. Lewis addresses a United Methodist audience, but his message will resonate with anyone serving small membership Mainline congregations, especially part-timers and lay pastors.