You don't have to be a big church to do mission.
“You can do anything that The Gathering or Church of the Resurrection does, but you do it on a smaller scale,” said Margie Briggs. Ministry in a small church can flourish. “I have a passion for the small church. I want it to live forever,” she added.
Briggs is a certified lay pastor serving two small churches, Calhoun and Drake’s Chapel United Methodist Churches. She pointed out that laity can step in to lead small churches where it is not possible to appoint an elder or a part-time local pastor. The solution to providing pastoral leadership at many small churches will come from the laity.
She shared some of the experiences she wrote about in her recent book Can You Just Get Them Through Until Christmas? She said then-district superintendent Cody Collier asked her to serve the two small churches after the pastor appointed there died. It was supposed to be a short-term assignment, but then he extended it to Annual Conference. Then Collier said the churches had asked her to stay on.
Both churches had dwindled to just a few in worship when Briggs started, but now each is worshiping about 40. A key to growth was to get out of the church and get into the community. She said not every outreach effort was successful, but when they were not, they tried something else.
Calhoun UMC calls itself the little church with the big heart. “You don’t have to be a big church to be in mission,” Briggs said. No matter the size, we have Jesus Christ, and what better can you offer, she asked. To change things you have to change your attitude and believe that with Christ, mission is possible. “God has blessed us because we have been a blessing to others,” she said.
Watch for the August issue of The Missouri Methodists, which will feature a Q&A with Margie Briggs about her new book Can You Just Get Them Through Until Christmas?