Practical Helps

Dynamics of a Smaller Church

No two churches are exactly the same. Location, leadership, history, heritage, role in the community, congregational diversity, cultural setting, the role of the Holy Spirit, and the will of God for the congregation–all of these help form the character of a congregation.
In recent years social scientists–sociologists, psychologists, and historians–have studied carefully the dynamics of local churches.

Notes on the Revitalization of Rural Churches

I am pleased that NAMB has launched an initiative aimed at revitalization of churches. While my understanding of their program is limited, it seems to build off of the one that FBC Houston has successfully practiced for the past 30 years or so. Its plan is to have a large church with significant resources to partner with a neighborhood church in a city which has grown weak.

Picture Album of the Church

In the transitional period when a pastor leaves and before the new one comes, it seems to me to be wise to spend some time getting back to basics by studying what the New Testament teachers about the nature and work of the church. This morning we will look at five pictures Paul uses in his letter to the church at Ephesus to help them understand the basic nature of the church.

Practical Help: Introduction

Many small rural churches leaders express a need for help in putting together the work of their church. They want to honor God with vital worship; they want to see the members grow spiritually; they want to reach the unchurched; and they want to see the community about them become a better place. Unfortunately, this is often not what happens.

Practical Help: Events

The life of many smaller churches is enriched by a set of annual events. Carl Dudley has made much of this in his writings about the culture of small churches. Dudley identified four categories of events in the life of a small church. They are as follows…

Practical Help: Projects

Pleasant Hill is a project-doing congregation. It usually has fewer than 30 in Sunday worship. It is growing older. Yet, the people there want to do ministry. They amaze me at the string of ministry projects they do. Let me share but five or six.

Practical Help: Steps

With most events are projects there are about 10 very basic steps that need to be taken. For your convenience I have listed these steps below:
Step 1: Identify a need or set of related needs. Talk about it with other people, in your church, but not necessarily limited to them. See if they share your belief that it is an important need. Children around here need to know more about the teachings of the Bible, our faith, and the Christian life.

Practical Helps – A Church Looking Toward the Future

My goal in this article is to provide guidance for a local church in addressing four basic questions. (1) The general will of God. God’s general will for churches is revealed in Scripture. What moral characteristics and behaviors does God demand of all Christians in a church family relationship? What purposes and goals does God expect church families to pursue? What activities of church families does God approve?

Sure Fire Mission Action Projects

When the word got out on the denominational “grapevine” back in 1986 that a committee was to be formed to work on how the denominational programs and agencies might address the real needs of smaller-membership churches more effectively, I volunteered. The end results…

Dr. Gary Farley was the Director of Missions for the Pickens Baptist Association (1997-2017). From 1984 to 1997 he worked at the Home Mission Board in the Rural Church Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. In that role he published many articles pertaining to rural church and community life. Many of these articles have been collected here as a small library. We invite you to freely distribute these materials under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.