• Highlights the ministry of the small congregation, a category into which 68% of Episcopal congregations fall
• Follows up on the author’s Becoming the Transformative Church and continues the conversation about church re-structuring
• Reflection/Study Guide questions included
Churchwide discussions on structure and growth tend to focus on the importance of increasing “butts in the pews and bucks in the plates.” Suggestions have been made on merging smaller dioceses to create larger ones and closing the doors of congregations which do not have Sunday attendance of at least 200. This is a model of scarcity without consideration of the value and abundance to be found in small churches.
Discover the roles, possibilities, promise, and potential of being a small church! Travel with Kay Collier McLauglin as she takes the back roads and byways of the United States, visiting small churches that are making a difference in their community. Each chapter tells a story about an example of faithfulness in the life of a small congregation and relates that story to the essentials of faithful living and being church. The book challenges the decision-makers in the Episcopal Church to think beyond traditional measures and short-term economic fixes to discover the life-giving opportunities and models presented by the smallest congregations.
For diocesan leaders, lay professionals, clergy, seminarians, and small groups.
Read the first chapter here.
“This book is an invitation to you written by someone who knows what she is talking about because she brings the vantage point of someone who continues to study something she has lived all her life. Hers is an authentic voice. It is an appreciative voice. It is a loving voice. I can only hope it calls you, too, onto the road to Kingdom Come.”
––from the Foreword by The Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, Chief Operating Officer for The Episcopal Church
“In an era when rapid shifts in American culture seem to have pulled the rug from under the Episcopal Church, Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin suggests that some of the practices required to make adaptive changes may be found in our smaller faith communities. The virtues of smaller churches––intimacy, mutuality, informality, direct engagement with neighbors––may be just things that many, both inside and outside the church, are seeking. Economies of scale make life difficult for small churches, but by focusing simply on viability we may miss the gifts and opportunities small churches offer.”
––The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane, Bishop of Maine
“In her enthusiastic advocacy for small churches and their honorable place in our ecclesiology, Kay Collier McLaughlin holds up important truths that undergird and embolden those who treasure these powerhouses of the Spirit: that authentic spirituality is connection-making and where better to connect than within a family-sized congregation; that every gathering of but two or three is pregnant with the real presence of Jesus; and that the upside-down values of God’s Kingdom subvert current values of Christian culture in its obsession with ‘more butts and more bucks.’ For the Church to ignore or dismiss the contribution of the small church may well be to miss the pearl of great price.”
––The Rev. Dr. Stuart Hoke, retired adjunct faculty at The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church
“As a bishop of a diocese composed almost exclusively of small, rural congregations, I found Kay’s new book to be a light of hope and encouragement for small congregations everywhere. Her stories of dedication and struggle bring to light the tremendous role these small outposts of love bring to a world desperately searching for community, acceptance, and the opportunity to experience the wonderful mystery of God.”
––The Rt. Rev. Michael P. Milliken, Bishop of Western Kansas