This turned out to be a day that filled up with meetings and administrative work: checking in with office staff in the morning, a phone appointment with the consultant I work with, checking email, proofing the newsletter, checking in with the editor of the congregational cookbook, home for a quick lunch, then back for a meeting with the architect who’s developing a master plan for maintaining our building, followed by a special meeting of the Board of Trustees, grab a quick take-out dinner at the Thai place down the street, followed by a meeting for the community sustainability group of which Carol and I members. Speaking from experience, I’d say that serving as minister of a small congregation can actually be more demanding than serving as minister of a larger congregation, because in a small congregation, I’m it, there isn’t another minister on staff who can cover a meeting instead of me. In my experience, you’re more vulnerable as the sole minister in a small congregation — and the congregation is much more vulnerable, too, because if something happens to you (you go into the hospital, God forbid, or have a family crisis, or just go on sabbatical ), there’s no one there to take up the slack. I’m not complaining or looking for sympathy. I love my work, and I’m happy in my congregation. But when you think that more than half of all mainline congregations in the United States are small, that means that more than half the congregations in the United States are pretty vulnerable in this way. If you’re looking for reasons why mainline congregations are sturggling, I don’t think you have to look any farther than this.