Terry Dorsett encourages small-church leaders

Churches need to cling to biblical values as technology brings postmodern ideas into small towns and rural areas, Terry Dorsett said.

Dorsett was the featured speaker for the KNCSB Normative Church Conference held April 19-20 at Webster Conference Center, Salina, Kan. He spent 19 years ministering in Vermont and is now a church planter in Connecticut.

The Normative Church Conference was aimed at pastors and key leaders in smaller-membership churches.

“Postmoderns decide what is truth based on experiences and relationships,” Dorsett said. “They do not recognize absolute truth.”

Despite the challenges churches are now facing, Dorsett was full of encouragement.

Small churches “have carried the spiritual fiber of our nation for generations,” he said.

Although megachurches are now in the spotlight, Dorsett believes small churches can still play vital roles, both now and in the future.

Dorsett offered five suggestions for small churches to impact changing communities. This is found in his book, “Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church” and on his blog at terrydorsett.com.

  • Embrace technology
  •   “Postmodern people are more virtual than ever before,” he said. Learn to use social media. Embrace technology in public worship services without losing the sacred aspects.  
  • Embrace bivocationalism and lay ministry.
  • Bivocational ministry will become even more important, Dorsett said. Funding for small churches will decrease due to a variety of reasons. Young people have not embraced tithing, he continued. And many of them are drowning in student-loan debt and unable to give. Dorsett urged the group to look at bivocational ministry from a missional perspective. For example, being a school bus driver offers an excellent way to get build relationships in a community. He also told of a pastor who is a pharmacy technician at a Wal-Mart.  
  • Embrace racial diversity. “This is essential, especially if we want to reach a younger generation,” Dorsett said.
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  • Use the church building as much as possible. Make the building available for community groups to meet and for such events as weddings, funerals and family reunions.
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  • Get outside the church walls into the community. “Practice the faith that is preached inside through community involvement,” he said.


Dorsett’s other books include:

  • “Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church”
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  • “Creating Effective Partnerships—Strategies for Increasing Kingdom Impact”
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  • “Malachi: Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity”


Look for him on Facebook and on Twitter at @terrydorsett