Ministerial Memos

12/25/2010 12:00:01 AM by: Rev. Dan Allen

Service Void of A Lot of People                                                                    

There are sometimes when a bunch of people are away all on the same Sunday. This can be tied into holidays or vacation time. But it can be pretty discouraging especially when you aren’t aware it is going to happen. You show up . . . nobody is there (that might be an exaggeration, but the crowd is much smaller than normal). Incidentally, this happens in small and large congregations and is very evident in both. A large congregation with huge holes in it can look somewhat worse than a small one missing a bunch of folks. Either way, it is disheartening.

Here’s what not to do - do not, I repeat, do not take out your disappointment on the people who are there. The tendency is (and I’ve done it) to get up and say: “Where is everyone?” or to make a sarcastic joke about the fact that so many are away (“Well, since no one is here today, why not we sing a hymn, I’ll read a verse and we’ll all go home”). You may even show your despondency and depression to the group that is there by saying something stupid (“I suppose people don’t love Jesus today. They didn’t come to church”). How do you think the people who are there feel? Does the term “chopped liver” come to mind? Fight off these temptation, reverse the feelings and make that service into one of the greatest those few people have ever experienced.

Your ministry, including your sermon, is to the church. The church is what or who is there at any given moment. Whether there are 5 or 500 your should preach your heart out as if the place is packed. Oh, becoming creative with a smaller group and doing some novel things might just be the ticket. Change the service a bit. Adjust to the smaller crowd. But by all means, give them Jesus. This service may be one they remember for a life-time.

Do we need to be reminded of the Prince of Preachers who came to Jesus after going to a church in the midst of a snow storm. So bad was the storm that only a few made it. I don’t think even the parson was there. In fact, I think it was a layman who gave the message.

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