May 2019 Resource

Imagining the Small Church: Celebrating a Simpler Path
Imagining the Small Church: Celebrating a Simpler Path
Steve Wills
Alban Institute, Herdon, VA
Book Review By:
Melvin Amerson

Premise of the Book:
The small church can thrive and flourish by embracing and celebrating its values that often center on simplicity and community.

What the Book Does:
“Imaging the Small Church” is a great resource for denominational leaders, clergy and those who desire to empower and affirm small membership churches in rural and small communities. The author shares from his well of experience as a small church pastor and provides insightful critique of values and strengths of small, rural churches, as well as its challenges to sustainability and vitality. Also, he offers a chart highlighting Small vs. Large church values. Each chapter is filled with stories and realities of small church life in rural and sparsely populated communities.


Chapter 1 - Periphery
Chapter 2 - Simplicity
Chapter 3 - Limits
Chapter 4 - Creation
Chapter 5 - Belonging
Chapter 6 - Bills
Chapter 7 - Imagination

What are the Important Insights:

The author offers great insights to the life, call and pastoring of the small, rural church. One of the best statements in this resource: “A revival of faithful imagination in the people of small churches is a powerful thing. New programs or long-range planning committees or mission studies can be helpful, but more than the programs themselves is the imagination and attention to the Spirit we bring to them. Reflecting on how imagination works and how church leaders can employ their own imaginations and inspire the imaginations of folks in the pews can be fruitful.” (p. 88-89)

Possibilities as a resource for churches:
This is a good resource for clergy, laity, congregations, and denominational leaders who want to inspire and encourage small rural churches in their ministry context.

Melvin Amerson Area Representative

Rev. Melvin Amerson is a member of the Texas Annual Conference and serves as a Resource Specialist/Area Representative at TMF. His experience and passion lie in encouraging and developing generous, faithful leaders and congregations.

Melvin is the author of Celebrating the Offering, Fruit for Celebrating the Offering and Stewardship in African American Churches: A New Paradigm, as well as several articles covering topics from generosity, leadership and visioning. Currently, he serves as a board member of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and is a nationally-recognized generosity consultant known for his engaging presentations.

Melvin obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, a Master of Divinity degree concentrating in Christian education from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a certificate in Professional Fundraising from Boston University.