Struggles that small Wesleyan Churches face in SC

I am living dangerously now.  Yep, you saw the title and know that this is going to be a debatable opinion.  Remember, it is my opinion.  I am not a researcher and I am not a big name.  So read it and know that these are my thoughts.

First, let me acknowledge that we serve a powerful God who can accomplish anything through those whom He desires.  If He is able to work through our small Wesleyan church too. 

Here are some possible problems.

  • South Carolina is Baptist and Presbyterian country.  Yes, it is true!  We serve the same God, Jesus Christ.  Can we say it?  There is church competition.  What I mean is that there are other churches who are financially well off that can offer many different ministries to their attendees.  Child care is huge.  Professional musicians.  Great speakers.  Many different specialized ministries.  Unlike our earlier Wesleyans, when these churches build a church, they mean it!  Their facilities are beautiful and useful.  They can accomadate large amounts of people and hold community services.  In other words, they can be of a huge service to the community.  Yes, that is important. 
  • There are only 48-50 Wesleyan churches in the entire state.  The good news is that we are working to fix this by planting churches.  Our brothers and sisters in other denominations have understood this for a long time.  They have been able to acheive a partnership with each other that is really awesome and this is how they take care of each other.  This is what we must do too.  Some Wesleyan churches are doing this already.  Yet again, we are small in number and time is what we will also have to work with. 
  • We have had bad press in the past.  Some have called us a cult.  Pleeeezze.  People are shocked when we talk about Sanctification and when we acknowledge that we do not believe that once you are saved that you cannot lose your salvation.  Sorry.  Free will overrides that.  Now, listen.  Okay, the last is a non-issue.  Really it is.  Holiness is, and it is in the other denominations too. 
  • It seems that some of our churches have hidden themselves away from the communities.  We did not want to be around sin.  Big mistake!  As a result, a lot of people that I talk to have not heard of Wesleyans and do not know where our churches are.  This is tough on advertisement. 
  • Most of our facilities are outdated.  This leaves most pastors and laymen to choose between being missional or contemporary.  I would like to be both. 
  • A lot of our churches are missing several generations.  This makes it tough to build strong children’s and youth ministries.  When this happens finances tend to go toward building needs and upkeep. 
  • I think all churches are facing this next problem.  Because we live in the Bible belt it is a tougher assignment to get people to attend church and serve.  Consider, it is more of a social statement to attend church than to come out of a passion for Christ.  God and Sundays are those things that many take part in only on Sundays and then leave what was heard at church.   People have gotten used to the idea that God has chosen them and gives them finances which confirms that He has chosen them.  People get used to this.  Then there  really isn’t a need for God because we have the resources to take care of whatever problems might arise.  This leads to entitlement.  Yet, those who don’t have anything, anyone, or realize that God cares will come to Jesus.  But, they never hear because we are always entertaining ourselves. 
  • The really most frustrating problem that we struggle with is that we cannot hire full-time youth pastors to minister to children and teens.  This is really hard to stomach because here is our future.  Man!  We can have all of the best intentions in the world.  We can dream.  We can talk.  But, nothing is going to happen until we have faith in God and sacrifice.  To get to the next step on the ladder we have to believe in God and give to God.  It has to be a united effort. 
  • Southern Wesleyan helps us by being here.  This school helps us to get our name out there and put everyone at ease that we are not a cult. 

Listen, Baptists, Wesleyans, and etc.  We are all in this together.  To my fellow Wesleyans.  We have got to be more involved in our communities.  We especially have to be stepping out into the waters that only God can get us through.  We cannot please Him until we allow God to lead us into waters that we cannot navigate which will cause us to turn to Him by faith.  We must begin giving our resources to the next generations because they do not know Christ yet.  He is pursuing them in a big way.  If we do not join Him in His pursuit, then some might say that we are committing spiritual abortion.

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4 Comments

Filed under Church Health, Church planting, Dreaming, Faith, Giving, Living it, Missional Resources, Planting youth ministry, Sacrifice, The Wesleyan Church, Vision

4 responses to “Struggles that small Wesleyan Churches face in SC

  1. i have changed the statement, “you can loose your salvation” to “you can give up your salvation” a lady in our church told me a story of her 5 year old son just min. before the family was going to take communion, he asked her if his name could be erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life? She told him that if he continued to sin, then he was telling God that he did not want his name in their anymore. His response, was “good, that means I have two more chances”. (he had asked the Lord into his heart 3 times) LOL!

    Scott, In Indiana South, I am anti church planting…you wanna know the reason why? We need to close 20-30 churches before we try to plant another one. We are filling many of our churches in ISD with Pastors who have NO theological training and couldn’t preach their way out of a wet paper bag. I am not sure why these churches exist, the church property looks like some of my dad’s hog sheds, and counting the pastor and his family many run below 15 people!

    I believe that a church plant needs to be our best foot forward…some one who has had some extensive training in church planting and has theological training. I just don’t think we are cutting here in ISD? (Just like Scott said, these are MY OPINIONS)

  2. . . . and a lot of self-named Baptists, etc., don’t have a clue as to what Baptists believe, or, more importantly, aren’t Christians, yet, anyway. (Some Baptists know what they believe very well of course. Often those are friendly to Wesleyans.)

  3. Scott Uselman

    Dr. LaBar, I was actually going to put that in my post. It is true. As a matter of fact, a lot of people from other denominations actually believe the way we do. This is what I am finding as I go along.

  4. Scott Uselman

    Joe, that is why I left ISD. You are dead on. I look at some of the district news there occasionally. One person who is pastoring told me that he didn’t need a District License to preach. :0 In our district, and several others, we are training pastors to put their best foot forward for planting. And, we are working with existing churches here through a program called ReFocus. I didn’t see any of that there. Again, my opinion. I know your heart and I am glad you are there. Keep it up bro.

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