"A Small Church on a Big Mission" is a book that embodies its own message: it packs a BIG payoff into a small volume! Pastor, discipler, and missional leader Jeff Allen offers practical resources and proven strategies, drawing on his own experience of transitioning a smaller established church into a community of disciples who are living beyond themselves as a Family on Mission.
Distilling many of the essential tools and vehicles developed by Mike Breen and 3DMovements, Allen shows how these can be applied to churches without large staffs, big budgets, and expansive facilities. If you are a leader of a smaller church and want to learn how to multiply disciples who are moving beyond the walls of your church to reach people in your community, then this book is for you!
author of Empowering Missional Disciples and A Jesus-Shaped Life
My first book published in 1991 was called 'Growing the Smaller Church', the publishers wanted a book that encouraged English clergy who were wrestling with the realities of leading smaller congregations. Now as then, the vast majority of congregations in Europe and the US are small and yet it is the pastors of the large congregations that get to write most of the books. But the small church has a vital – I would say indispensable role – in the mission of God, and so I was delighted to be asked to write the forward to Jeff Allen's new book. 'A Small Church on a Big Mission' is an excellent place for any leader of a typical sized church to begin considering the issues of discipleship and mission. This book will help you far more than the books written by mega church pastors operating in contexts that are so unlike your own they may as well be describing mission on a different planet!
We have all marveled at the television programs that document the vast variety of ecosystems on our planet. Like the biosphere the world of human culture is vast and infinitely varied and if we only had big churches we would find it difficult to relate to these multiplicities. But small churches can embed in the cracks and crevices of our culture and reach the multitudes of different groups and subcultures found within it. If our call, as the Great Commission suggests, is to reach every people group, then we need small churches that can identify with these people groups and share the gospel with them in contextually relevant ways, the broad-brush strokes of mega-church messaging will simply not suffice.
But don't get me wrong 'A Small Church on a Big Mission' is not a study in mega church bashing – no one wants to do that. There are two very clear paths in the future development of the American church, one leads to mega the other leads to micro church and both are absolutely essential. We will continue to need churches that are contextualized to the mass-market consumer culture of North America, able to communicate in broad gospel categories to large swathes of the population. But at the same time we will need churches that can operate in the smaller ecosystems of the nation's subcultures.
To a discouraged group of returned exiles struggling to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem Zechariah said 'who despises the day of small things?' small things are important to God and so should never be despised by any of us. You may feel that your work is the aptly described as ‘the day of small things’ but in this book you will find no lament or critique, only hope, opportunity and celebration. Your work is not insignificant, on the contrary, your church like all the small churches in America present an enormous prospect for God's mission to our nation. As urban and rural communities become more fissile and liable to form smaller units of culture the Lord will sharpen these precise tools of missional engagement to do great things in our world. My prayer is that as you read this book you and your congregation will be sharpened to do the work you are uniquely called to do.
author of Building a Discipling Culture, Family on Mission and more