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The greatest challenge for leaders in small congregations is burnout. Along with the general resources for Leadership Development, here are some specific recommendations for small congregations.

  • Make sure you have a clear mission and vision, and that every active member is in alignment with that mission
  • Work on your "strategic no." It it best to do focus on a few areas of ministry and do them well rather than spread yourselves too thin. If you can't find a volunteer, maybe that's a sign to let a program go.
  • Get connected! Reach out to other congregations and find ways to partner and share resources. Maybe you could plan a joint leadership retreat, or host an outside consultant for a workshop and invite other congregations
  • Reach out! There are lots of free and low-cost resources available from your district and region. Note local conferences and free webinars on your church's calendar.
  • Relationships matter—talk to people one-on-one about their gifts and passions and how they might find a way to serve.
  • Create transparent systems: Small congregations tend to depend on informal relationships to recruit leaders. Provide opportunities for people to explore serving without making a commitment.
  • Don't twist arms. You may get someone to fill a role now, but doing a job that you don't want to do is a sure recipe for burnout.
  • Create accountability, but only for what is under someone's control. e.g. You can ask someone to do an every-member canvass but not to increase giving by 20%. You can ask someone to offer quality religious education but not to increase the number of participants.



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