New Book Celebrates Small-Church Ministry

Spore book

Rev. Roy Spore highlights the gifts of small churches, best approaches for leadership

When Rev. Roy Spore and his wife moved from the Dallas metroplex to Commerce, Texas, 35 years ago, they wondered what they would do with themselves in a town of 8,000 people. Little did they know that the appointment would catapult them into nearly four decades of effective ministry in small churches.

Rev. Spore has served both the United Methodist campus ministry at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) and a small church near the campus.

Combining his insights from serving in small churches with his experience leading district workshops and teaching local pastors in Licensing School and Course of Study, Rev. Spore has written a book titled Productive Leadership: A Guide for Ministry in the Small Church. Published October 2021, Productive Leadership highlights the particular gifts of small churches and the best approaches for leadership in this context.

“You can do things in a small church you can’t do in bigger churches,” Spore said.

For example, when a church member asked for prayers for a grandson who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident during worship, another member asked if that Sunday’s communion rail offering could be donated to the family rather than given to its scheduled designee. After quick agreement by the church gathered that morning, the family was blessed with this assistance.

“The key to ministry in a small church is to be the best at who you are, not to try to do what bigger churches can do,” he said.

The book is a celebration of American small churches and the lasting legacy they provide for the Christian landscape. Combining attributes of proven leadership with stories from the New Testament, it provides a practical guide for developing and maintaining fruitful ministry and is written for lay and clergy leaders in small- to mid-size churches.

“Rev. Roy Spore is a pastor who could have served in any setting but who chose to serve with distinction in small and medium congregations, primarily in the rural areas of the North Texas Conference,” said Rev. Dr. Marsha Middleton, Director of the Licensing School and Board of Ordained Ministry Officer. “Beginning his ministry from the vantage point of a Christian educator, I can think of no one from whom I would rather learn than Roy. He is a true treasure and offers his wealth of knowledge with great humility and enthusiasm.”

Using experiences from actual ministry situations, Spore brings a distinct blend of wit and wisdom as he takes the reader from assessing the cultural values of a church through discerning God’s vision for ministry to working together in leadership. Complete with step-by-step exercises for individuals, councils and committees, the chapters form a map for developing effective ministry in a vital mission field. 

“I have come to really appreciate the church in the rural areas of our annual conference," Rev. Spore said. "When I say church, I’m talking about the people in those places. They really understand so very much about what it means to be the church."

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Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2022