2017

One And Done: Why Small Church Discipleship Is Always A Moving Target 
In a small church, it doesn’t take long for everyone who’s interested in a specific discipleship program to finish it.

The days of finding or creating a discipleship program, then using it for years, is over. Especially in a small church.

Our church created and implemented a great a discipleship class last year. In our church of 180 (average Sunday attendance) more than 60 adults took the class ...

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Why Are There So Many Unhealthy Small Churches? (Don't Worry, It's Good News)
There are 90 unhealthy small churches to every unhealthy megachurch because small churches outnumber megachurches by about 90 to 1.

I like the idea of small churches. But if they’re so great, why do I see so many more unhealthy small churches than unhealthy big churches?

A small church pastor asked me that question recently. Not from cynicism or unkindness. It was out of genuine concern for a reality ...

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Church & Culture
Grandma Didn't Go To Church: 9 Ways First-Generation Christians Are Making Me A Better Pastor
How do you pastor people when they're not just the only believers in their family, they’re the first Christian in generations?

For the first time in American history we have a generation without Christian parents or grandparents.

Many of the people – especially the youth – who give their lives to Jesus in the church I pastor were never taught Bible stories, prayed at meals or bedtime, or ...

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Christian Unity
5 Simple Statements Any Small Church Pastor Would Love To Hear
It takes so little to remind a small church pastor that you care for them and are asking God to bless them.

Too many small church pastors are doing most, maybe all, of their ministry alone.

They wonder if anyone outside the church even knows or cares that they exist.

That isolation can become toxic. And it can start to bleed out into their congregations, confirming the worst stereotypes ...

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Christian Unity
5 Things You Should Never Say To A Small Church Pastor 
Don’t just get the content right. Consider how it might feel to the hurting pastors who need your help the most.

Small church pastors want to hear and use the best ideas, advice, wisdom and counsel we can find.

So we look for it everywhere. From books, blogs, podcasts, conferences, mentors and more.

But many of my fellow small church pastors have stopped looking and asking for help.

It’s ...

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7 Steps To Help Your Good, But Slightly Off-Center Message Break Through The Noise
When your message is off-center, the quality matters even more.

What do you do when you have a message that doesn’t quite fit within the norm?

How do you get anyone to take you seriously? Especially in this interconnected world with so many voices yelling at us?

I’ve been asked those questions a few times lately about this blog, ...

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Christian Unity
Embracing Church Unity And Variety (Change The Seasoning, Keep The Chicken)
So many church arguments aren’t about the meat. They’re about the seasoning we add to it.

When someone says a restaurant serves the best chicken in town, it’s never about the chicken.

Every properly-cooked chicken tastes the same.

What’s different is the flavoring.

It’s the same with churches.

So many of the arguments we have about the right way to ...

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Church Growth
Do We Need A Broader Definition Of Church Growth?
Any definition of church growth that doesn’t allow for, even celebrate, churches that contribute in non-numerical ways is incomplete.

There's more than one way for churches to grow.

But over the last forty years or so we've been given one model of church growth almost exclusively. Get more people in the building.

That model is so prevalent that when I dare to suggest that many small churches are healthy ...

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Getting Unstuck: Innovative Small Churches Find Alternatives, Not Excuses
Problems don’t become excuses when we say “we can’t do it that way.” They become excuses when we say “we can’t do it any other way, either.”

Pastoring a small church is not for the faint of heart.

It involves ministering to and with people at every level of their lives. Spiritual, social, financial, emotional and more. All with extremely limited resources at every level, including time, staffing, facility, finances ...

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Church Leadership
Pastoral Transition: Setting Your Church Up For Ministry Success After You're Gone
The church was here long before us, and it will be here long after us. Let's leave it better for the next pastor.

Following a long-term, successful pastorate is one of the hardest callings in ministry.

It should be one of the easiest. After all, if we’re doing pastoral ministry right, we should set up the next pastor for an even greater level of ministry success than we had.

Instead, ...

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Church Leadership
Are You Missing What God Is Doing While Holding Out For Something Bigger?
When we get to heaven will God ask some of us "Why did you look down on the ministry I gave you?"

God doesn’t always show up in our lives and ministries the way we want him to.

Because, even though we want to do great things for God, our definition of great isn’t always the same as God’s definition of great.

We all have great opportunities for ministry. Don't ...

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Church Growth
5 Mistakes More Likely To Be Made By Big Churches Than Small Churches
Consider this a friendly view from the outside looking in.

Big churches serve many great roles in the body of Christ. And the church growth movement that spawned many of them has been a great blessing to me and so many others in ministry.

But numerical growth, while great, does not come without challenges.

In my last post, 5 Mistakes ...

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Small Church Ministry
5 Mistakes More Likely To Be Made By Small Churches Than Big Churches
Different sizes of churches serve different functions. And they face different challenges.

Small churches are not just smaller versions of big churches.

Every size has value, but different sizes serve different functions in the body of Christ. They also have different challenges and they tend to make different kinds of mistakes.

Here are 5 mistakes that are more likely ...

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Church Growth
If Your Church Is Healthy, Why Is It Still Small?
It's a valid question. I wish I had a tidy answer. But here's what I do know.
If Your Church Is Healthy, Why Is It Still Small?

Oh my. That question.

“How can you say your church is healthy if it’s not growing?”

If I’ve been asked it once…

But I still don’t know how to answer it.

I wish I did. Because it’s a perfectly valid question.

But life doesn’t tie itself ...

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Christian Unity
When You Feel Like A Failure (A Good Friday Reflection)
So much of Jesus’ life, ministry and message looked like a failure. Until the resurrection.

The gospel was built on failure.

What we now know as good news started as very bad news.

It was never supposed to work.

For a long time, it looked like it never would.

It started with a young, pregnant, single girl in a backwater town too small to be mentioned in most ancient records. ...

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