Deep is better than wide

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Be smart, be strategic
Our Bible verse for today: “I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Deep is better than wide”
I have a small framed picture on my desk at church that was given to me many years ago by some friends at Oak Hill Baptist Church. It’s a picture of a small white clapboard church in a country setting. We’re viewing the church from the outside, from the front. It’s nighttime and lights are glowing through the stained-glass windows. There’s a single horse tied to a hitching post out front.
The first time I saw that picture it grabbed my heart because I realized that as a pastor, I had what that picture represented (and I was glad I did). It spoke of a small congregation of faithful believers living quiet lives and enjoying a simple church life. Something about it said, “small but happy”, “small but very good”, “small but deep and nurturing”.
In the early years of being a pastor I was caught-up in the numbers game of how success as a church was measured – “bigger is better, small is broken”. Fortunately, in the book “The Strategically Small Church”, I learned a lesson that changed everything for me. It was that being the pastor of a small church can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience when viewed from the proper perspective.
Oak Hill Baptist is the smallest of the three churches I’ve been the pastor of over the last twenty-five years. It is half the size of one and 70% smaller than the other. Yet, for many reasons, I find it to be a more rewarding and enjoyable experience than either of the others. One of the reasons that’s so is precisely because of the size. I’ve discovered that the more members you have the less time you can spend with them individually, and the less well you can know them. In terms of the quality of the relationships a pastor can develop with congregants, you can either go deep or wide, but you can seldom do both. You can touch a lot of people a little, or you can go deep in the relationships, but with a fewer number of people.
I choose deep over wide. It’s better. I remind myself frequently that I’m the “pastor” of Oak Hill Baptist Church, not the “evangelist” of Oak Hill Baptist Church. Although evangelism is part of what I do, my primary role as a pastor is to care for the people God has already given me. The deeper I can go with them the better I can care for them.
I believe deep is better than wide, and that pertains to all members of a small church, not just the pastor. You can only be truly close to a limited number of people and the larger the church, the fewer members you will know well, or at all. But in a small church you can know everybody. That’s just one of the many strengths of small church life. In the days to come we will consider some of the others.
God bless,
Pastor Jim 
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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