“Small” Churches and Their Role in Missions

The Southern Baptist Convention has been blessed by the contributions of many larger churches—congregations that run in the thousands on Sunday mornings. But most SBC churches look very different. Indeed, about 80 percent of SBC churches have only around one hundred members.

It would be all too easy for these smaller churches to assume they have less to offer, but Darryl Smith of FBC Huntington, Texas, and David Brown of Hillcrest Baptist Church, Lebanon, Missouri, know otherwise. Both pastors of smaller churches in smaller cities, they joined Caleb Crider of the IMB to share how God is using “small” churches in a big way on the mission field.

Both pastors shared how they, like other small congregations, initially struggled with the fear that missions was beyond their budget. “It’s a matter of priorities,” Pastor Smith eventually concluded, “we found, when we began to go, God began to bless our church budget, because people want to invest in something that’s making a difference. The response to fear has to be action.”

“Our story is the same,” explained Pastor Brown, “God did provide. And other people have come alongside to help us, to partner with us, to go and be a part of what we’re doing. So you’re not just out there by yourself.”

Pastor Smith even pointed out that, in some ways, engaging in missions can actually be easier for smaller congregations. For example, unified vision and enthusiasm is simply easier to generate and maintain within a smaller group of people. “Only a small group may go,” he said, “but we have people praying, we have people giving, involved in fundraisers . . . it’s a church-wide effort!”

“Ultimately,” said Pastor Smith, “it is a statement of obedience. It’s always gonna require faith.” But that faith is being richly rewarded among congregations like FBC Huntington and Hillcrest Baptist.

Jaclyn S. Parrish worked as a writer for IMB in South Asia. She currently serves in the US as a writer, editor, and social media associate for IMB. You can follow her on Twitter at @JaclynSParrish.