2017

Innovative Ministry
Want An Effective Ministry? Consider Becoming A Zagger
You and your church can have a big impact and great effectiveness by meeting a small, overlooked area of need.

"When they zig, you zag."

I don't know who said it first, but a lot of people have said it since.

I'm a zagger.

I’ve tried to be a zigger. To go with the flow, not against it. To pick the low-hanging fruit.

But, time after time, without intending to, I find ...

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Thom Rainer and Lawrence Wilson Interview Karl Vaters About Small Churches
These two interviews (one podcast, one written) might give you a new perspective on small church ministry.

Small churches are becoming big news!

Recently, I had the chance to be interviewed about small churches by two great ministries.

Both interviews were published this week. One in a podcast, the other in a written article.

1. The Thom Rainer Leadership Podcast #338

First, I was honored ...

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Innovative Ministry
If You're Going To Do Church That Way, Do It Well
Churches don’t become great by adding more programs. They get better at the ones they already have.
If You're Going To Do Church That Way, Do It Well

There are so many ways to do church.

As long as you’re honoring the Bible, worshiping Jesus and loving people, no method or structure is wrong.

But any method or structure can be done wrong.

Thankfully, it can also be done right.

Whatever program, asset or resource you think ...

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Church Growth
The Top 3 Reasons Church Growth Ideas Usually Fail In Smaller Churches
We're often told that small churches are failing at church growth. But sometimes church growth ideas are failing in smaller churches.

I love church growth.

I also love the Church Growth Movement. It’s brought some wonderful benefits to the church in the last 40 to 50 years. A renewed emphasis on outreach, accurate assessment tools, and an openness to try new methods are just a few of the positives.

But ...

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Christian Unity
Confessions Of A Social Media Lurker: 3 Guidelines For Commenting Constructively Online
I don't want to just participate in conversations – whether they're online or in real life. I want to elevate them. And be elevated by them.

I spend a fair amount of time on social media. But there are a lot of people who don't even know I'm in a group with them because, while I monitor a lot of conversations, I seldom participate.

I hang out, I follow the conversation, I learn whatever can be gained, but ...

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Church Growth
What If We Made Disciples And Left Church Growth To God?
If we prioritized health, not as a means to growth, but as an end in itself, would we be in a greater position to represent Jesus to the world?

Imagine all the time, money and resources that have gone into church growth in the last generation.

Is it naïve to wonder what the world and the church would look like today if all that effort had been invested exclusively in church health instead?

Is it possible that if ...

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Innovative Ministry
It's Time For A Church Transition: Should The Pastor Leave? Hand Off? Or Reboot?
No church should be so reliant on one person that it’s at risk of collapse when that person leaves. Even if that person is the pastor.

I’ve pastored three churches.

I left the first one in the middle of a long-term turnaround, believing it was best for someone else to finish the job I had started.

I left the second one early, when I realized I was not the right pastor to help the turnaround happen.

In the ...

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Church Leadership
Is Your Church A Family? 5 Ways To Help It Be A Healthy One
A healthy family doesn’t put up walls to keep newcomers out. They welcome new members with open arms and big parties.

So much of what's taught about church methods and structures comes from a corporate mindset.

That's to be expected when most church leadership writers are coming from a large- and megachurch background.

But smaller churches don't operate that way. And they shouldn't. ...

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Christian Unity
The Man Who Saved The World By Thinking Small: A D-Day Tribute
On D-Day, small and large worked together. Each did the task they were best suited for. Together they won the day.

If you’re a pastor who feels like your voice is being ignored because your church is small, you’re in good company. One of the unsung heroes of World War II faced a similar problem.

Andrew Jackson Higgins was a New Orleans boat builder who saw the importance of something ...

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The Mixed Blessings Of Scalable Church
We need to understand why a church is small before we can know if its size is a problem to overcome or an opportunity to capitalize on.

Some things become better when they become scalable.

Some don’t.

Some have mixed results.

This is true for churches.

The Positives And Negatives Of Scalability

For instance, the car I drive is cheaper, safer and more fuel-efficient because the assembly line made automobile ...

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Church & Culture
Why Was I So Hard On That Church I Visited?
Impacting our community for Jesus takes more than having a great worship service and solid, biblical teaching.

Last week’s blog post, Why Some Great Churches Never Impact Their Community, got a lot of feedback on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Several readers were concerned that I had been harder on the church than I needed to be. Their primary concerns were:

1. I made a snap judgment ...

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Church & Culture
Why Some Great Churches Never Impact Their Community
Your church has the world's greatest treasure. Don’t hide it behind layers of misdirection and insider lingo, daring people to find it.

Several years ago I had the privilege of being in a great church service on a trip away from home.

The worship was dynamic, the people were friendly, the message was biblical and engaging, the sense of the presence of God was genuine.

As I drove away, I thought, “What a ...

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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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