My ministry setting is small

Your Question:

“How can I best serve in a small ministry setting?”

The Issues:

Being “small” brings financial and “manpower” limitations, but there are no limitations for doing the best you can with what you have. There is a misguided stigma to being small. Fighting that stigma is a mental challenge.

Scripture Foundation:

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts.”  Zechariah 4:6

Short Answer:

Most people view a small church as “not healthy.” The leaders of a small church often pray for the church to get bigger.  It is true that larger churches or ministries have more opportunities, but that doesn’t always mean that larger ministries are more effective. Here are some benefits and challenges to being “small”:

  • In smaller ministries, it is possible to know everyone’s name and particular need. Larger ministries tend to “evolve” into ministries that become “sterile” because they lose the ability to know each person by name.
  • Small ministries can offer an event or program with very little “red tape” or complications. Larger ministries need to plan events further in advance to prepare for the requirements and challenges of the large number of people involved.
  • Smaller ministries produce deeper relationships compared to the “shallower” connections present in larger ministries. 
  • If your ministry setting is small, you may have to pray and work hard to fund programs or events, rather than simply adding a “line item” to the budget as larger ministries do. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In a smaller church, people may be more willing to financially support a program or event because they know the people involved. This leads to building relationships with those people who may not have been connected with the children’s ministry (CM) before.
  • In a smaller ministry, you may need to work harder to recruit people to serve in the CM. This shouldn’t stop you from planning exciting programs or events!  This just means that you will have to do more advertising and personal interactions.
  • In a small ministry, everyone knows everything about the success or “failure” of a program or event. It is easier to “hide” mistakes or failures in a large ministry, but people in a larger ministry may be less forgiving than those in a small ministry.


Here are some ideas to help you take full advantage of being “small,” without limiting creativity and vision:

1) Build deep relationships – Slow down and get to know the people in the church and in the CM. Talk with them and find out what they think and what they do. These close connections may lead to more people or opportunities for the CM.

2) Go beyond the budget – Plan events or experiences for the children that obviously won’t be supported by the budget. Don’t let a small budget limit your creativity. Dream of doing something, and then ask God to direct your steps toward accomplishing it. Make a list of what you will need (finances, team, and supplies), then begin looking for ways to acquire these needs apart from the budget. Ask for donations, invite people to give directly to the specific idea, invite people to join the CM team just for this event or experience, advertise the dream and the needs in the adult service and wait on God to supply what you need.

3) Be a good steward of what you have – Make sure you are using the facility well. Open every door and clean out the “clutter” to utilize every inch of the facility better. Clean, paint, and organize the CM area to make it look and feel professional. Support your current CM team! Hold appreciation banquets, fun social events just for them, and compliment them publicly as often as you can. Make the CM fun for everyone!

4) Involve the youth and the elderly in the CM – These two groups will probably not be consistent members of the CM team, but they should be invited to participate periodically. Plan special occasions for them to be involved and celebrate them when they do respond.

5) Use the resources available to you – Survey the people of the church or organization to find out what they have or what they can do. (See the “Things I Can Do” form). Incorporate the talents or possessions of the people in the church or organization periodically in the CM. People love to show off!

Embrace the power of being small. If the Lord blesses your ministry, you may look back on these days and wish you were small again!  For more help in understanding the setting of the children’s ministry, click on the “Understanding Your Ministry Setting APPENDIX link below.

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