August 2016

Church Leadership
How to Stay Healthy While Pastoring an Unhealthy Church
Hurting churches hurt people. Including pastors who try to help them. Here are 9 principles to help you stay strong.
How to Stay Healthy While Pastoring an Unhealthy Church
Image: Renate Meijer | Flickr

A healthy church is a great place of healing.

But an unhealthy church causes problems for everyone who touches it – including the pastor who’s called to help turn it around.

More people get sick in hospitals than anywhere else. Because that’s where the sick people ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Growth
We Followed the Steps – Where’s the Church Growth?
There are no guaranteed steps to church growth. Because the church is people. And people don’t come with guarantees.
We Followed the Steps – Where’s the Church Growth?
Image: Janayna Velozo | Flickr

I read another one of those church growth blog posts recently. You know the ones. A list of steps your church can take to break through whatever growth barrier you’re facing.

It was a very good list. Every one of the principles was about church health. In fact, as I read ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
7 Reasons to Leave Your Caps Lock Button Alone – And What to Do Instead
Do you want your writing to feel less inflammatory, and be more readable and influential? Try these suggestions.
7 Reasons to Leave Your Caps Lock Button Alone – And What to Do Instead
Image: Toshiyuki IMAI | Flickr

I love dialog.

It’s great hearing and reading other people’s opinions. Even when they disagree with me.

Because good communication matters to me, I want to enhance all of our dialog – especially online – with a friendly word of advice to a particular group ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
It's one the great mysteries of ministry. Why do pastors have such a bad reputation for answering or returning phone calls? Here are 9 reasons.
Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
Image: Loren Kerns | Flickr

If you’re a missionary, evangelist, or someone else who spends time trying to get in touch with pastors on the phone, I feel for you.

Pastors are notoriously bad at answering or returning phone calls.

I admit, I’m one of them.

It’s not because we’re lazy, ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Growth
Are You Pushing Pastors to Build Bigger Churches? Please Catch Us When We Fall
Many pastors feel pushed to grow, but they don’t feel like they get the help they need from church leaders when that growth fails to materialize.
Are You Pushing Pastors to Build Bigger Churches? Please Catch Us When We Fall
Image: Boss Tweed | Flickr

The push to build bigger churches continues full steam ahead.

I regularly get cries for help from small church pastors because of the damage this push is causing.

Today I’m posting two of them.

Because of the personal nature of these messages, I’ve left the names off. ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
4 Proven Strategies for the Care and Treatment of an Unhealthy Church
Unhealthy churches aren’t like healthy ones. Acting as though they are doesn’t help them, it hurts them.
4 Proven Strategies for the Care and Treatment of an Unhealthy Church
Image: NEC Corporation of America | Flickr

There are a lot of books and articles about how a healthy church should behave.

That’s appropriate. We should always have a picture of our desired future in our hearts and minds.

But what does a pastor do with an unhealthy church?

I’m going to propose a radical idea ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
5 Steps to Take After Saying Something Stupid In Public
Mistakes should be acknowledged and fixed if possible. But don’t use it as a stick to beat yourself up.
5 Steps to Take After Saying Something Stupid In Public
Image: James Whatley | Flickr

Every time I preach there’s a chance I’ll say something stupid.

Sometimes my mistakes are harmless, like when I quoted God at the burning bush telling Moses, “Take off your feet, you’re standing on holy ground.”

Other times people get hurt. Sometimes ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
Check the Mirror, Pastor – After Five Years, Your Church Looks Like You
Like it or not, most churches follow Jesus the way their pastor follows Jesus. The smaller or newer the church, the more it’s true.
Check the Mirror, Pastor – After Five Years, Your Church Looks Like You
Image: Konstantinos Koukopoulos | Flickr

Show me a spiritually healthy church and I’ll show you a spiritually healthy pastor. Show me a spiritually unhealthy church and I’ll show you a spiritually unhealthy pastor.

If you’ve been the pastor of your church for five years or longer, it’s time to ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
What Will the Church Do When the Freaks and Weirdos Show Up?
The Bible is thick with commands to welcome the stranger. But just how strange are we willing to welcome?
What Will the Church Do When the Freaks and Weirdos Show Up?
Image: Craig Sunter | Flickr

Our churches are filled with normal people.

Normal to us, that is. Normal like you and me.

The church is also filled with freaks and weirdos. Some churches are filled with freaks and weirdos sporting tattoos and piercings. Others are filled with freaks and weirdos in suits and ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
12 Principles for More Effective Ministry Team Meetings – In Any Size Church
How to get the most out of planning meetings. Including overcoming the biggest hurdle for scheduling them in small churches.
12 Principles for More Effective Ministry Team Meetings – In Any Size Church
Image: Book Lin | Flickr

I don’t like meetings.

Planning meetings, board meetings, staff meetings, committee meetings…

If I could jettison one aspect of pastoring, that’s what I would get rid of.

So why do I have them? Because, when done well, ministry team meetings are an essential ...

Continue Reading ...
Christian Unity
Imagine a World Without Megachurches
Megachurches and small churches aren't in competition with each other. At least we shouldn't be.
Imagine a World Without Megachurches
Image: Trubble | Flickr

What would the world look like if all the megachurches disappeared tomorrow? Would it be a better place? Or worse?

I propose it would be worse.

But, by the way some of my fellow small church pastors talk (and the way I used to talk), you’d think that if all the megachurches ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
4 Ways to Discover and Capitalize On Your Church’s Unique Voice
If you're copying another church, you’re not being the church God called you to be. And the kingdom of God is poorer for not having your voice in it.
4 Ways to Discover and Capitalize On Your Church’s Unique Voice
Image: Kevin Dooley | Flickr

What kind of culture does your church have?

For many years, the denominational tag told people everything they needed to know before they walked in the door. And not just theologically. Even the style of clothing and music were similar throughout each denomination.

In recent years, ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
The Church Needs Better Critics (9 Ways to Win Hearts, not Just Arguments)
As Christians – especially Christian leaders – our criticism should elevate the conversation, not debase it.
The Church Needs Better Critics (9 Ways to Win Hearts, not Just Arguments)
Image: Juhan Sonin | Flickr

Criticism is a valuable tool.

When it’s done right it can, and has, changed hearts and minds.

Martin Luther did it with his 95 Theses. Martin Luther King Jr. did it with his I Have a Dream speech. Long before both of them, Jesus did it with the Sermon On the Mount.

Criticism ...

Continue Reading ...

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters

More Newsletters ...