Small Church Essentials By Karl Vaters


I enjoyed the book Small Church Essentials. I enjoyed this book because I am a pastor of a small church in a small town. I could relate to many issues and mindsets that Karl addressed in his book. I enjoyed the fact that Karl discussed the issue of small churches being unhealthy or a problem. But on the flip side, Karl also addressed the negative mindsets that come along in all sizes of churches. For example in a small church, it's easy to hate mega churches and even medium churches, accusing them of stealing other members of churches. But it's also easy for prominent church pastors and members to look at small churches and think they are unhealthy or neglecting their calling and duty to the people they are serving. 

Karl in section two talks about the ebbs and flows of church attendance in small churches. One week could have higher numbers while the other week could have lower. This could all be due to something that is happening at the church. For example, a baby dedication brings more people, but the flu season keeps them away. This is important as a small church Pastor to understand because in a small church you will feel the ebbs and flowers more than your large church pastor would. But the key is to keep moving forward and preach/teach and conduct your service in a faithful manner unto the Lord. 

I enjoyed chapter 5, talking about pastors who think their church is small because it's weird or different. They counsel their body and hear stories that they haven't heard any other church face, and they presume that they are weird and that's why they are small. Throughout this chapter, Karl gives us tools how to deal with the situation that seems strange or that no one has dealt with ever. 

I also appreciated that Karl addresses the church growth issue. That we in North America get so hung up on numbers of attendance that we miss the big picture.  We need to be as Karl said: "always striving to increase our capacity for effective ministry." This helps us keep our eyes on the prize and not just trying to start new ministries for the sake of packing more people in a room.

Chapter nine was very beneficial, in addressing issues that seem to plague small churches. Karl doesn't just address the problems; he also gives you solutions to remedy them. Reminding us not to move to fast or too slowly, to always assume honourable motives in people who like to control everything.

Overall I think Small Church Essentials is a beneficial read for both small church pastors and large church pastors. Anyone who is aspiring to be a minister would probably benefit from this book. Why? Because as the author himself says "at some point in your life, you will pastor a small church." How is that statement true? Well, you'll just have to read the book and find out!