It began with one small church conference in 2008, but Impact 2009 quickly expanded.
“We’re trying to help small church pastors work within the unique characteristics of the small church, not retrofit large church ideas,” said Les Puryear, pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church in Lewisville and host of the first North Carolina Small Church Conference in 2008.
Puryear is in Tennessee (April 24-25) for Impact 2009; another event is planned May 22-23 at his church.
The original plan had six locations this year, but Puryear believes the faltering economy resulted in some being cancelled. Events in Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri were cancelled because of low registrations.
“When giving is down in a large church, they probably have the resources to ride it out,” Puryear said. “However, when giving is down in a small church, it has a dramatic effect. I believe that is the reason for low registrations in some of the states.”
A conference was held in Oregon in March. Puryear said registration has been better in Oregon, Tennessee and North Carolina.
“The purpose of the conference is to encourage and equip small church pastors within the context of the small church,” he said. “Most other conferences have large pastors speaking about large church techniques with the assumption that the small church can implement their ideas with some adjustments. In most cases, this is not true. The small church is a very different organism from the large church. The small church is typically more relational and has fewer resources than the large church.”
In the future Puryear hopes to replace face-to-face conferences with webinars, which will be more cost effective for pastors.
The upcoming conference May 22-23 involves Friday night and Saturday. Lunch is included in the registration price. The cost is $25 per person. The event is sponsored by LifeWay, International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Puryear said church members have offered to host participants to cut down on costs. If anyone would like to stay for free, e-mail [email protected]; please include number.
Visit http://sbcsmallchurch.com/ for more information. Make out check to “It’s All About Jesus Ministries” and mail to: N.C. Small Church Conference, 920 Laurel Creek Lane, Lewisville, NC 27023. Call (336) 945-3706.