Small Church Big Footprint

One of my favorite pastors is Bruce Logue. Bruce pastors Life Spring church in Merced California. The church is about 50 people when everyone shows up. I visited them a number of years ago and was impressed by the love Bruce exhibited not only for the people in his very diverse little church but also for the people who do not attend. Bruce is not only active in the Rotary he takes the lead on civic groups who are trying to help his city make a comeback. After spending a few days with him it became evident that many people who did not attend his church consider him to be their pastor and Bruce considers himself to be their pastor. Bruce’s wife works full time so Bruce can practice his ministry fulltime.

Rose Swetman pastors Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline Washington, She and I planted this church a number of years ago along with a group of other unsung heroes. After failing (under my leadership) to grow a mega church I handed the church over to Rose who along with her husband Rich (another life long friend) has led Vineyard Community Church to become one of the most influential churches in Seattle. Rather than focusing on growing a Big church she’s grown a church Big. Big reach in a small area, big influence with local leaders (same as Bruce) and big heart for hurting people by starting a non-profit called Turning Point. Rose also plays poker every Monday night and has a forthcoming book that talks about what she’s learned about God around the poker table. It’s titled appropriately enough, Poker Pastor.

Edmonds is a comfortable suburb north of Seattle. Barry Crane is the pastor of a vibrant little (well it’s not so little anymore) church in downtown Edmonds. Barry cannot walk around Edmonds without being accosted by someone who wants to talk with him and most of those people have never attended Barry’s church North Sound Church. Recently Barry and his team decided they should start planting more churches. After looking around the area and not wanting to join the project a pastor club they decided to start an Anglican Church right inside their own (non denominational but we really used to be Baptists or Charismatics) church. That’s right. Instead of planting another version of themselves down the block they asked around and discovered that what people really wanted was an Anglican version of themselves. So a few months ago Holy Trinity Anglican Church began services in the same building as North Sound Church under the leadership of Father Ryan Brotherton.

In our new book Question Mark – why the church welcomes bullies and how to stop it. Doug Murren and I offer several suggestions for how the church could not only stop bad actors from getting behind the pulpit but also turn the current situation of church decline around. One of those ideas is that we need twenty new models of church planting. One size no longer fits all. These pastors and churches paint a picture of the future of a vibrant church. Small churches with a big footprint.

Jim Hancock