October 2015

9 Reasons to Embrace the Term 'Small Church'
Being small is not a problem, so calling us small churches isn't a problem either.
9 Reasons to Embrace the Term 'Small Church'
Image: J N | Flickr

A lot of people don't like the term 'small church'. Including many small church pastors.

Before I wrote The Grasshopper Myth and started working with other small church pastors, I debated using a different term for churches like ours. After all, I wanted to help small ...

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Church Leadership
The Main Reason Pastors Count People Is Not as Noble (or Sinister) as You Think
Pastoral ministry has plenty of challenges with very few immediate rewards. But seeking affirmation through numbers is a dangerous game.
The Main Reason Pastors Count People Is Not as Noble (or Sinister) as You Think

It’s one of the mantras of the church growth movement. "We count people because people count."

It also happens to be true. Most of the time.

But that that’s not the only reason pastors count people.

As I wrote in The Grasshopper Myth, some pastors ...

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Innovative Ministry
Bigger Fixes Nothing (7 Unexpected Steps Toward Church Health)
What two reality TV shows taught me about bringing innovation, health, and joy to broken churches and pastors.
Bigger Fixes Nothing (7 Unexpected Steps Toward Church Health)
Image: Jeff Kubina \ Flickr

Being small does not mean that something is broken. But if something is broken, you can’t fix it by making it bigger.

Those principles were reinforced for me recently in a surprisingly unlikely place. Reality TV.

On their TV shows, Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant: Impossible, ...

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Christian Unity
Stop Telling Me How Bad the Church Is – I'm Not Listening
I’m calling a moratorium on indiscriminate complaints about the church. If it’s not specific, constructive, and impartial, I’m not interested.
Stop Telling Me How Bad the Church Is – I'm Not Listening
Image: Ben Husmann | Flickr

I reached my limit last week.

It was a recent Facebook post that did it. A pastor wrote that "today’s church has turned its back on God", then went on yet another indiscriminate rant about what’s wrong with all of us – except him and his church, ...

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Small Church Ministry
Six Reasons Why 'There Are No Small Churches' Isn’t True
The world is filled with small churches. Refusing to acknowledge that reality isn't encouraging, it's condescending.
Six Reasons Why 'There Are No Small Churches' Isn’t True
Image: Sherman Geronimo-Tan | Flickr

“There are no small churches.”

I've heard that all my life.

But it's not true.

Of course there are small churches. Lots of them. And it's okay, not just to acknowledge that reality, but to celebrate it.

Here’s why.

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Six Church-and-Culture Issues I Don't Care About Any More
The church needs to build bridges to the culture if we hope to reach it. But there are some bridges I won't cross any more.
Six Church-and-Culture Issues I Don't Care About Any More
Image: Mirko Tobias Schäfer | Flickr

Well, that was ironic.

Last week I wrote a post, Six Church-Insider Issues I Don't Care About Any More. It resulted in more readers than any previous week this blog has ever had.

Apparently, being passionately apathetic is contagious.

As promised, today's post ...

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Innovative Ministry
The Gatekeepers are Gone: What’s Holding Your Ministry Back?
The era of needing approval to produce and distribute great ministry content is over. We just need to do it.
The Gatekeepers are Gone: What’s Holding Your Ministry Back?
Image: Roland Tanglao | Flickr

The gatekeepers are gone.

Just a couple decades ago, if you wanted to get your message to a massive audience, you had to work your way up a very hard, long ladder.

And every step on that ladder had a media gatekeeper who could stop your progress.

Publishers said “no” ...

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Church Leadership
So Many Wrong Reasons to Become a Pastor
Do you want to be a pastor? Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Because the bad reasons outweigh the good ones. By a lot.
So Many Wrong Reasons to Become a Pastor
Image: Bilal Kamoon | Flickr

People become pastors for so many wrong reasons.

They like the status. They like speaking in public. They like arguing theology. They come from a long line of ministers. The list goes on.

If you’re debating becoming a pastor, here's a list of wrong reasons to ...

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Six Church-Insider Issues I Don't Care About Any More
I used to waste a lot of time arguing over these issues. Now? Meh. On some things, apathy is the best policy.
Six Church-Insider Issues I Don't Care About Any More
Image: Brian Jeffery Beggerly | Flickr

Is it possible to be passionately apathetic?

If so, count me in.

I grew up in the church. But in recent years I've found myself caring less about many of the issues I used to think mattered so much. I’m not just apathetic about them, I’m passionately apathetic. ...

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Church Growth
Mind the Gap: When Your Next Church Growth Step Is a Giant Leap
Redefining church growth and ministry success on this side of a church growth gap.
Mind the Gap: When Your Next Church Growth Step Is a Giant Leap
Image: Pawel Loj | Flickr

Church growth is not a steady line.

Not only does it have ups and downs, it also has gaps. Some bigger than others.

In my church, for example, the growth from 35 to 200 has been an up-and-down, step-by-step, decades-long growth curve. But the next level of growth beyond ...

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Is Church Holier With the Lights On? Or Off?
Two services. On opposite ends of the country. They couldn't have worshiped more differently. Which one got it right?
Is Church Holier With the Lights On? Or Off?
Image: Portable Church | Flickr

There is no right format for worship.

This week I spoke at a ministers’ conference. In the closing commissioning service, most of the new ministers who came forward were wearing jeans and short-sleeved shirts. Those commissioning them were dressed the same.

As they ...

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Small Church Ministry
The Lonely Small Church Pastor: Breaking the Cycle
The smaller the church, the more likely the pastor is doing most ministry alone. But there is hope.
The Lonely Small Church Pastor: Breaking the Cycle
Image: Ding Yuin Shan | Flickr

Why are you doing this alone?

That question is printed on a card that sits on my desk every day. It reminds me not to fall into the trap that too many small church pastors get caught in. That I tend to get trapped in.

Being a small church pastor is one of the loneliest, ...

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Church Leadership
Pastor, What Do You Do for Fun?
If you put so much time into ministry that you don't have time for fun, here's why you need to make time.
Pastor, What Do You Do for Fun?
Image: HISHAM BINSUWAIF | Flickr

"So, what do you do for fun outside of pastoring?"

Someone asked me that question many years ago and it stumped me.

I didn't know what to say, because the truth was, I didn't do anything for fun.

What I wanted to tell them was "what do you mean, ...

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Church & Culture
11 Ways to Be the Church for Those Who Don’t Go to Church
People need to know us before they can trust us. And they need to trust us before they’ll go to church with us.
11 Ways to Be the Church for Those Who Don’t Go to Church
Image: Paul Friel | Flickr

Helping people come to faith in Jesus used to be as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Invite a friend to church.
2. The friend comes to church.
3. The preacher closes the deal.

(That’s New Testament evangelism, right? Uh, maybe not.)

It’s harder today.

In my previous ...

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