May 2017

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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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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