Vol.IX No.XII Pg.4
February 1973

What Can We Do?

Robert F. Turner

There are hundreds of small churches scattered through this country that do little more than keep house for the Lord, and some are poor house-keepers. We render them no real service by continually fussing at them. Often they contain godly men and women who really want to serve the Lord, but who are psyched out (as this generation might put it) by their size and circumstances.

They lay the blame on this hard community, or poor location, or no young people, or no older experienced leadership, or no moneyed members. Well, these things may be handicaps, or they may become opportunities. Sometimes the lack of leadership forces men who otherwise would wither away unused, to train themselves. Wealth often divides a congregation, and its lack encourages true democratic sharing of responsibility. I had much rather work with a church of twenty members who gave $5. each, than with nineteen who gave nothing and one who gave the $100. (Nor is this a lack of appreciation for the able, liberal giver.) And remember, the Devil does a great job from his poor location.

I fear many are unduly influenced by worldly conceptions of great and good things, and on the march churches. Surrounded by the ballyhoo of such, we may begin to think a church that isnt building a fancy edifice, sponsoring a world-wide project for the brotherhood, or at the very least, making headlines with its ball team, just isnt doing anything. We dare to say that even responses or baptisms are not necessarily proofs that all is well; but we quake when we realize how few souls are being saved, and how little effort is made in that direction.

And some true signs of growth and spiritual life may never be attained by every church. Instead of measuring ourselves by others in differing circumstances, why not take stock of our own assets, and the potentials of our community, and determine the work we are best fitted to do. You may have little opportunity to work with many young people, but be peculiarly situated for service to a community of retired folk. You may not attract great crowds to your building, but reach thousands through a well-prepared publication or radio program. I have known a few small country churches that served the Lord well as training grounds for gospel preachers. They listened patiently— maybe endured is the word— and gave many young men the encouragement and confidence needed to go forth into all the world. And you may scripturally assist in the support of evangelists, at home and abroad. (2 Cor. 11:8)

But do not substitute a check for genuine interest in spreading the word. Owning a typewriter doesnt make an author, nor a mimeograph machine a qualified publisher. There is no short-cut to serving the Lord, and whatever your undertaking, you must be fully dedicated and well prepared. Without this, the large wealthy congregation spins its wheels; and with it, the small, poor group of saints will accomplish truly great things in the eyes of the Lord— for they will be workers together with Him.