Beyond Labeling Small Churches

Dudley, Carl S. “Beyond Labeling Small Churches.” Insights 107(2):15-18.

Cautioning against labeling small churches by their size rather than appreciating their character, Carl Dudley suggests small churches be understood through their own self-image in ways that affirm their memories and identity as authentic carriers of faith. He suggests five self images which, when employed by church leaders, help shape and encourage small churches: (1) the pillar church, one which serves as an anchor in the community and feels responsible for it; (2) the pilgrim church, providing support for specific population segments rather than the whole community; (3) the survivor church, the most familiar self-image of small churches, known for its determination and resiliency in the face of overwhelming odds; (4) the prophet church, wherein the congregation sees itself as challenging the evil of the community; and (5) the servant church, seeking to meet human needs through pastoral and supportive ministries.