Inside the Small Church is an exciting and readable survey of the diverse world of small churches. North America is dotted with small churches; in fact, most major denominations are populated in large part by small congregations. This collection of essays reveals a bright hope for the future of small churches.

Anthony Pappas has gathered more than a dozen small church champions in North America. He has chosen 30 essays, including several of his own, to raise the awareness of the small church.

Pappas presents six significant shifts, which reveal a bright future for the small church. Pappas then arranges the contents of this publication into four categories:  leading, loving, “largening” and leaving the small church.

The reader will find many insights other than the chapter titles. Two such insights are the value of shared “pastoral pools” for clustered small churches, and the potential for church planting.

In the section on leading, several helpful hints assist the small church champion in understanding small church culture. Two powerful images are understanding history and homecoming.

Loving the small church is the second unit of material and helps the reader appreciate the value of relationships and caring in a small congregation.

Largening, or building, is focused on the fact that the small church can grow—building on a positive self-esteem, breaking from old exclusionary tendencies and moving forward with celebrative, inclusionary ministries.

Leaving is actually helping the small church move outside her four walls and into mission-ministry opportunities.

I would recommend this book to anyone serving in or relating to small churches.

Jim Royston is executive director/treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

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