The Beauty of the Small Church: Essays to Encourage and to Equip Small Church Leaders is the new release by Les Puryear.  He is the pastor of the Lewisville Baptist Church in Lewisville, NC.  This is a congregation on the border between being a small church (less than 200 in average attendance) and a midsized church.  His book covers a number of small church issues.

  The book is actually a compilation of Puryear’s blogs made into chapter format.  This is a very interesting approach and one that will surely continue in this age of the internet.  It causes the book to be an easy read, but insightful as one tends to get straight to the point in a blog, more so than in an average chapter in a regular style book.

  The first section is a series of articles concerning the beauty of the church.  The remainder of the volume consists of writings about various subjects within small church life, with no apparent pattern as far as arrangement goes.

  I found each of the essays to be quite interesting and relevant.  Puryear shares his mistakes as well as his victorys making the book applicable to any reader.  Especially interesting to this writer was the article “Christmas Realities of a Single Mother” in which the author shares a touching letter from one of his congregation struggling with the hard facts of life for one in her situation. 

  One of the best chapters, at least from a small church advocate’s perspective, was “The Church that is Pleasing to Man VS the Church that is Pleasing to God.”  Puryear masterfully shows from Scripture the things that God says He looks for in His churches.  This is in stark contrast to what many people see as “successful” churches.  In the end, it is the smile of God rather than the praise of man that should motivate any church in all endeavors.

  These two chapters are only a sampling of the good articles contained in this small volume (only 89 pages).  The reader will find many helpful words of encouragement and advice on a variety of topics important to the small church.  This reviewer heartily recommends this book to all small church members and especially their leaders.