2017

Church & Culture
8 Reasons Churches Should Partner with Secular Community Groups
How can we reach our communities if they have no idea we love them? And how will they know we love them if we don’t work alongside them?

Our church used to partner exclusively with other Christian ministries. For everything from missions to community service.

Before that, we would only partner with ministries in our denomination.

Today, while we still only partner with Christian groups for missions (can’t ...

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Church Leadership
Pastor, Be Careful the Snapshots You Bring Home from Church
When things are going badly at the church, it can be hard on the pastor. But it’s often harder on our spouse.

Recently, I was in a roomful of pastors when one of them said “Pastoral ministry can be harder on our spouses than on us.”

Every head in the room nodded in silent agreement.

Then someone asked “why”?

Here are some of the reasons we discovered that evening. ...

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Small Church Ministry
10 Essential Ingredients for Running an Effective Small Church Internship
If your church wants to invest in the next generation of ministers, a ministerial internship is a great way to do it.

Small church internships have a lot to offer both the intern and the church.

But they have to be done right. If not, they’re a nightmare.

For over a dozen years, our small church has operated a successful internship ministry. Here are ten essential lessons we’ve learned, ...

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Church Growth
The Folly of Trying to Measure Success In Christ’s 'First Shall Be Last' Kingdom
We need to measure what we can manage, but let’s not fall into the trap of thinking we have more control than we do.

We don’t measure the things that matter.

We measure the things we manage.

One of the unquestioned premises of the church growth movement is that when something matters to us, we measure it. So we count things like church attendance in an attempt to measure a church’s ...

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Church & Culture
We Can Whine About the New Generation or Worship with Them – But We Can’t Do Both
We need to remember how devalued we felt when previous generations told us our music was too loud, our clothing was silly and our questions were inappropriate.

Why don’t people wear their Sunday Best for church any more?

A lot of older churchgoers (that is, my generation) seem to be worried about that lately.

I’d like to respond to that question with a couple of my own.

When did the members of my generation become such old ...

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Church Growth
Is Church Growth a Solution Looking for a Problem?
The apostles addressed a broad range of church issues, but no New Testament writer ever told a church to get bigger.

We’ve invested a lot into the art and science of church growth in the last 50 years.

It makes me wonder. After such a massive output of time, energy, research and money, have we become like the proverbial man with a hammer who sees everything as a nail?

Is that why church ...

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Small Church Ministry
Jesus Didn’t Wake Up this Morning Depressed By the Size of Your Church
Mondays can be tough for pastors of struggling churches. But Christ is with you. And he has good news.

Was yesterday a tough Sunday, pastor?

Again?

You did everything you know to do.

You prepared, prayed and studied all week long.

A couple days ahead of time, you got in touch with volunteers to remind them this was their Sunday to teach, sing, usher, and so on.

You arrived early, ...

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Small Church Ministry
10 Steps to Get an Internship Ministry Started In a Small Church
Most small churches would love to have interns. But how do you overcome that massive initial step of getting your first intern?

Interning at a church is one of the best ways to prepare for pastoral ministry. Or to determine that pastoral ministry is not your calling (a distinction that is essential to know - and the sooner, the better.)

It’s also a wonderful opportunity for a church to expand its ...

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Church Leadership
Please Stop Saying ‘It’s Just the Way I Am’ to Excuse Mediocrity In Ministry
If anything hinders our ability to do what God has called us to do, we don’t have the option to let it slide.

People use a lot of excuses for not putting their best foot forward in pastoral ministry.

  • “I love preaching, but I hate studying”
  • “Teamwork isn't my strong suit – I’m an introvert”
  • “I get impatient when things don't change fast enough”
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Innovative Ministry
7 Steps to Start Becoming a Church People Want to Commit To
A lot of recently unchurched people are like some of the rowdy kids in school. They’re ditching because they’re not being challenged.

People who don’t go to church, don’t want to go to church. They’re not rolling out of bed late on Sunday morning wishing they had somewhere more churchy to be.

In fact, a growing number of people who do go to church don’t want to go, either. If we don’t ...

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Church & Culture
People Aren’t as Loyal to a Church Or Denomination Anymore – Good For Them
We need to stop whining about people’s lack of commitment to our churches and give them something - and someone - worth committing to.

Brand loyalty is dead.

Good riddance.

The so-called good-old-days when a person committed to a church, then stuck with it no matter what, have come to an end. But many churches don’t know it yet.

The same goes for denominations. Today, even fully committed believers are unlikely ...

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Church Leadership
8 Characteristics of a Great Podcast (Plus Some Church Leadership Podcasts I Like)
If you're a podcaster, here's one listener's blunt assessment of what works and what doesn’t. This is the stuff your friends won't tell you.

I’m not a podcaster. But I’m becoming an avid listener.

If you’re a podcaster looking for an audience, I’m the kind of person you’re looking for. Someone who wants great content and will come back for more once I find it.

So what makes a great podcast ...

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Church Leadership
8 Reasons I’ve Started Listening to Church Leadership Podcasts Lately
Listening will never replace reading. But podcasts have become a significant and valuable part of my church leadership learning experience.

Leaders are learners. It’s an axiom as old as leadership itself.

I used to say leaders are readers. But that’s never been entirely true. Because you don’t need to be an avid reader to be a constant learner.

Some learn by collaboration and conversation. Some by ...

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Innovative Ministry
Front-Load the Value: Creating a Better Experience for First-Time Church Guests
Is your church service putting your worst foot forward instead of your best? Here's a simple way to reverse that.

What does your church do well? And how long does it take a first-time guest to experience it?

Your response to those questions is a huge factor in how well your church attracts and keeps new people.

According to church leadership experts, most people will subconsciously decide ...

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Innovative Ministry
3 Ways Some Churches Grow Without Getting Bigger
Butts-in-the-seats growth is great. But it’s not going to happen for every church. That's never a reason to give up, coast along, or offer excuses.

Do all healthy things grow?

Yes.

If a church is healthy, will it grow?

Also, yes.

Will that growth always result in larger congregational attendance?

Not so fast.

When Church Growth Theory Meets Church Life Reality

I know it seems logical.

If a church is healthy they’ll be reaching ...

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