Preaching to Thin Pews

I know that a number of you who read this blog are pastors of small churches (thanks for reading!). Tonight I came across this from Arthur J. Gossip in his book on preaching, In Christ’s Stead (1925), pages 27–28. I thought I would pass it along:

“…religion is by far the most interesting subject in the world, and the people prove it by the way they flock to hear about it, even yet [1925]. Take any other theme you choose, politics let us say, and through a heated fortnight at an election time you can gather eager meetings. But let them continue, in scores and hundreds of places in the cities, week in and week out the whole year round, and what size would they be in a year? But you—oh, you at times will be grumpy over thin pews. Watch yourself then; be sure that that is really zeal for Christ, and not, as is much more likely, merely hurt pride that stings you. Never rail at a congregation because it is small. It is not the fault of those who are there. And in your deeper moods you will stand gazing in amazement at the folk coming back, sitting there looking hopefully toward you, not yet discouraged, it appears, by the sad persistent failures of the past, apparently still sure that God is going to break through all our imperfections to them.”

[HT: T-Bomb]

3 thoughts on “Preaching to Thin Pews

  1. Tony,

    Thank you for this post. It encouraged me greatly. There was also loving and gentle rebuke in its words. I have pastored only in small churches and wrestle with the “thin pews” mind-set. The past twelve years has seen me ministering to a “small” congregation who, however, believe in a very BIG God. I love them dearly. Each Sunday they wish for more to be there to hear the Word of God. And nearly every Sunday, I find myself staring back at faces who are looking hopefully, not simply to me – I’m just the physical feature at the front – but to God and His timeless Word of hope in Christ Jesus. Thank you so much for finding this and posting it.

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