Small Boats and Small Churches

The British Army evacuated Dunkirk from May 27-June 4, 1940. Initially, this evacuation of the army was carried out by the Royal Navy. However, the leadership realized that the deep draft of their large vessels kept them from effectively reaching the troops trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk (Rickard, 2008).

Beginning in earnest on May 30, any boat capable of crossing the English Channel came to the aid of the trapped soldiers. The main contribution of these small boats was ferrying soldiers from the beaches to the larger ships waiting off-shore (Rickard, 2008). Working together, the United Kingdom demonstrated solidarity in purpose during this time of adversity. This spirit of cooperation is known to this day as the “Dunkirk Spirit” (Knowles, 2000).

According to the Baptist Press, 50% of Southern Baptist Churches are located outside metropolitan areas. In addition, many Southern Baptist churches are still located in the South. However, there has been a population shift to metropolitan areas. In 1950, 56.1% of people lived in metropolitan areas. By 2000, 80.3% now live in metropolitan areas (Hall, 2009).

Just as it took the large warships and small boats to save the British army in Dunkirk, it will take the large and small churches as well as ministry partners to reach those in the cities with the saving message of the Gospel. As the war progressed, the United Kingdom had the “Dunkirk Spirit” uniting them in their purpose of defeating Nazism. Let the Southern Baptist Convention have a Great Commission Resurgence spirit uniting us in our purpose to carry out the Great Commission.


Hall, W. (2009, June 10). ANALYSIS: What do the numbers mean — is the SBC in decline? Retrieved July 24, 2010, from Baptist Press:

Knowles, David J. (May 30, 2000) “The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk”, BBC News, Retrieved July 24, 2010 from

Rickard, J (16 February 2008), Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk, 27 May-4 June 1940, Retrieved July 24, 2010 from

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2 Responses to Small Boats and Small Churches

  1. cermak_rd says:

    The problem with small religious institutions in metropolitan areas is that the cost of real estate is much higher which frankly requires a larger group of attendees to carry the cost. House churches wind up being largely impractical if they get larger than a couple families due to a shortage of parking and disputes with the neighbors that will arise if meetings frequently occur and result in parking crisis.

  2. Quinn Hooks says:

    Thank you for your insights, Cermak.
    These are valid concerns and working together, we can overcome these challenges. Churches must work together to reach the metropolitan areas.

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