There are a lot of small churches in the United States.
The 2020 Faith Communities Today (FACT) study of more than 15,000 U.S. religious congregations revealed that 7 in 10 U.S. churches have 100 or fewer weekly worship service attendees. At least 175,000 faith communities in the United States have 65 or fewer people in attendance on any given weekend.
There are both opportunities and challenges for churches of every size. One challenge for smaller churches is that they are more likely to have volunteer or bi-vocational staff, which means that they are not always able to devote the time and energy to ministry that they would like to or are stretched thin across all areas of their lives.
A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research found that pastors of every congregation size across the United States report often feeling overwhelmed and overloaded as individuals. The majority of pastors say that they are on-call 24 hours a day (71%) and find their role frequently overwhelming (63%).
Pastors and church staff invest a lot of time and energy into their congregations each week. And it can be exhausting. Especially for small church staffs, it can be difficult to equip and minister to the congregation effectively and with excellence. Small church staffs may dream big dreams for their congregations but then don’t have the resources to implement that dream with the quality that they had envisioned.
Christian communicators and parachurch ministries have the opportunity to come alongside those church leaders to support what they are already doing and help lighten the load for them, equipping them with the resources they need. For many parachurch organizations, their primary audience may not be individuals or even communities but church leaders. Parachurch ministries are uniquely positioned to equip local congregations with the resources they need to serve and lead their congregations more effectively.
RightNow Media is a parachurch ministry that exists to serve the church by providing resources that will inspire Christians to champion the mission Jesus gave to His people—making disciples of all nations. The majority of the 25,000 churches in the U.S. and worldwide that RightNow Media works with have 150 members or fewer. RightNow Media comes alongside these churches in three primary ways to equip them to reach their congregations more effectively: a library of biblical video resources, on-demand video resources on leadership and professional development, and strategic events to help Christians live on mission.
Parachurch organizations can provide churches with Bible study resources, digital media resources, or helpful insights and research. Whenever a church has access to these resources from trusted parachurch partners, they are freed up to spend more time investing in relationships with laity and serving their congregations in the ways that they are uniquely equipped to serve.
Christian communicators also have the opportunity to help churches communicate to the different demographics within the church.
“The pandemic revealed some differences between different generations in terms of what their needs are—whether it’s meeting in person or meeting online and what community looks like for them,” Matt Wood, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at RightNow Media, said. “Helping the church reach those different demographics is also an opportunity.”