Most Churches are Small! Workshop explores strategies for thriving ministry

August 16, 2018
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  • What: Thriving Ministry in Smaller Churches workshop
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 8. Workshop is from 9:30am - 3:30 pm, registration and doors open at 9am.
  • Where: Trinity Episcopal Church, Central West End, St. Louis
  • About: As a smaller church, what are we really good at? How can we maximize those good things? What are our challenges, and here's how we can smooth out some of those rough places.
  • Register online and read more workshop details


Stephanie Caro began her work with children and youth ministry on the staff of larger churches. After the ordination process in the United Methodist Church, her first church had only nine children and youth. "I didn't know how to make it work, I'd always had 200 youth group kids!"

She asked a friend in the publishing business for some great resources for youth ministry in the smaller church. Her friend said there really aren't many, Stephanie, would you write one? And that she has! (Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches; 99 Thoughts for the Smaller Church Youth Worker; Smaller Church Youth Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem; Ten Solutions to 10 Common Mistakes in Smaller Churches).

Critical Mass
A typical childrens' Sunday school class in this country may have five kids in it, but one's a kindergartner, two are in second grade, and you have a fourth and a fifth grader as well. How do you teach all of that? How do you do thriving and sustainable ministry in this challenging setting?

If you want to play a game of hide and seek, you know you have to have at least two people. For the game to be engaging you need a couple more. The workshop will explore critical mass for smaller church ministry. For instance, if a smaller church is trying to have a weekly youth group, how big does the group have to be for it to feel sustaining and engaging to teenagers? The answer is somewhere around 4-5, "that's when the group begins to feel like a group." The workshop will explore the kinds of events that work with this group size (and those that don't).

Another common dynamic some churches report, "but we don't HAVE any kids...." Stephanie finds churches often don't notice all the children in their network of ministry and community outreach. "And, in an aging church, we need to equip grandparents to help grow the children and youth ministries!"

Is this workshop about youth ministry only?
"When you're a smaller church, your ministry in outreach, with children and youth-- it really all runs together. If you're a congregation of 60 people, everybody does everything together." At this workshop you'll learn about what constitutes critical mass for various types of ministry.

The average sized church in the US is 76, the avg. youth group in US is 7 teens. "Being small is not an excuse and not a limitation for ministry." It's something she's most passionate about, and the workshop opens with this theme. "I want to let smaller churches know that they can do it!"



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