Innovative Ministry

Innovative Ministry
The Pastoral Transition Zone: Catching God’s Timing For Your Church And Ministry
When you give church members the gift of time and respect, they’ll go with you to some exciting places.

God’s timing is perfect.

When he does something in our lives unilaterally (as in, he doesn’t ask for our permission or cooperation) his timing is often quick, surprising and sometimes painful. It’s only when we see those events in the rear view mirror that we ...

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Innovative Ministry
Why Smooth Pastoral Transitions Matter More Now Than Ever
In previous generations, the denomination, the church building, and family expectations had such a strong hold that it virtually didn’t matter who the pastor was.

For many generations, people who went to church would attend every Sunday no matter what. Whether out of habit, culture, tradition, denominational identity, fear of reprisal, or a sincere commitment to Christ and his church, when the doors were open, they were going to walk ...

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Innovative Ministry
Quit Trying To Fix Sunday School – Until You’re Sure You Should Have It At All
We need to ask better questions, then do whatever ministry answers those questions in the best possible way.

As I talk with pastors and other church leaders, one question that pops up regularly is “it’s getting harder to get people to lead and/or attend our Sunday School classes (or Sunday night services, or prayer meetings, or VBS, or…). How do we fix this problem, ...

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Innovative Ministry
Why I Won’t Be The Lead Pastor At Cornerstone Any More – But I'm Not Leaving
Pastoral transition is one of the most dangerous times in a congregation’s life. We need to get better at it.
Why I Won’t Be The Lead Pastor At Cornerstone Any More – But I'm Not Leaving
Image: Karl Vaters and Gary Garcia, by Mari Vega

Hi, I’m Karl, and I’m still a small church pastor. But I won’t be in the first chair much longer.

On Sunday, my long-time youth pastor, Gary Garcia and I presented a plan for him to become the lead pastor of Cornerstone. I will stay on staff at the church, assuming ...

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Innovative Ministry
6 Issues To Consider Before Pastoring A Church That Needs A Turnaround
Turnarounds always take longer than our projected timelines. And they almost never happen the way we expect.

Leading a church that needs a turnaround is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding callings a pastor can receive.

I’ve pastored three churches, all of which needed a turnaround, with varying degrees of success (more on that, below). From both my failures and successes, ...

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Innovative Ministry
Leading A Church Through Seasons And Cycles – And How To Know The Difference
We can’t control the seasons of our life, or of the church we're called to lead, but we can do something about the cycles.

Every church goes through different seasons and cycles.

Knowing and appreciating the differences between them is essential to leading a church to greater health and effectiveness.

While seasons and cycles are both ways to describe the rhythms of rising and falling, ebb and flow, ...

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Innovative Ministry
Looking For A Last-Minute Christmas Sermon Idea? Keep It Simple, Keep It Weird
One of the challenges of preaching for Christmas is holding two very different truths in hand without falling into one of two traps.

The Christmas story is so simple. And so weird.

How simple?

Everyday simple – literally. As in, millions of times every day simple.

A baby is born.

How weird?

Other-worldly weird. Not-even-in-a-comic-book weird. It-can-only-be-a-miracle weird.

That baby is God, the creator of ...

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Innovative Ministry
28 Non-Numerical Signs Of A Healthy Church
Numbers are not the only way to determine church health. In many situations, they’re not even the best way.

If numbers aren’t the only way to tell if a church is healthy, what else is there?

I get that question a lot. Mostly from other pastors.

And no, they’re not being facetious when they ask it. They truly don’t know the answer.

Isn’t that … I don’t ...

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Innovative Ministry
How Doing Fewer Events Is Helping Our Church Do Better Ministry
If your church, or a department in it, needs to hit the refresh button, it’s not a backwards step to strip things down to the basics.

No one is running around our church, setting up activities today.

Even though it’s October 31 as I write this, we’re not decorating our cars, prepping games in our classrooms, or cooking food in our kitchen.

Because this year, for the first time in many years, we’re ...

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Innovative Ministry
Hillsong Church Doesn't Sing “Shout To The Lord” Anymore? Good For Them
Instead of hitting the replay button, Hillsong is staying true to their mandate and pressing forward. This is something we can all learn from.

Every church has a calling.

In addition to the mission we all share – namely, the Great Commandment and Great Commission – every congregation has a specific reason they exist.

For Hillsong Church, a big part of that calling has been to write, sing and send their songs ...

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