May 2016

The Glorious Inefficiency of a Healthy Small Church
A worship service can be conducted efficiently, but worship can't. It requires time to ponder, reflect and celebrate.
The Glorious Inefficiency of a Healthy Small Church
Image: Peter Dutton | Flickr

I like working efficiently.

Every time I figure out a new way to work smarter, not harder, it’s like finding a $20 bill in an old coat.

Shortcuts, life hacks and time management tools are a great blessing, allowing me to get more done in less time, with a higher degree of ...

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Church & Culture
Why the Next Great Move of God Will Make Church People Uncomfortable
How will we know when the next great move of God happens? Because it will be felt outside the church, too.
Why the Next Great Move of God Will Make Church People Uncomfortable
Image: Kristin Schmit | Flickr

All my life I’ve heard preachers talk about a coming worldwide revival.

But it’s never happened.

There have been pockets of excitement. From the Jesus Movement of the 1970s to local spiritual outbreaks today. Along with controversy over their genuineness and effectiveness. ...

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Church Growth
7 Times When Church Growth Isn’t Worth the Cost
There is no cost too high to pay for the salvation of souls. But there is a cost too high to pay for bigger churches.
7 Times When Church Growth Isn’t Worth the Cost
Image: Tim Samoff | Flickr

Church growth is an essential element in the Great Commission. But bigger churches are not.

This is not an anti-big-church rant. I love big churches. They're great. They're like padded seats, air conditioning and microphones. They can all be valuable tools, but they’re ...

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Church & Culture
Be Undeniable: A Christian Alternative to Engaging In the Culture Wars
The world isn’t looking for someone to win the latest debate in the culture wars. They’re looking for an alternative to the whole mess.
Be Undeniable: A Christian Alternative to Engaging In the Culture Wars
Image: abh | Flickr

Apparently the church is losing the culture wars.

We must be. My Facebook feed says so. And Facebook never lies, right?

Today it’s about bathrooms. Tomorrow it will be something else.

Each issue is presented as ‘The Most Important Issue of Our Time!’ Until the ...

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10 Principles that Have Helped Me Overcome Writer's Block
Writing was always hard for me. Until it wasn't. None of these ideas originated with me. But they work for me. And they might work for you.
10 Principles that Have Helped Me Overcome Writer's Block
Image: kate hiscock | Flickr

It’s been four years since I've had writer's block.

No, that’s not right. I still get writer’s block.

It’s been four years since writer’s block has stopped me from writing.

Yes, that’s more like it.

Writer’s block has always been ...

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9 Bad Habits that Limit a Church's Ministry Capacity
It’s not about church growth. Or working harder. It’s about doing smarter ministry with our church’s current resources.
9 Bad Habits that Limit a Church's Ministry Capacity
Image: hobvias sudoneighm | Flickr

The church I pastor has reached our capacity. Not our seating capacity. Our ministry capacity.

We can't do any more ministry than we are currently doing. Unless we change the way we do it.

Last Saturday I spent the day with our church's key leaders and we reached one simple ...

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Church Leadership
9 Reasons Pastors Should Say ‘I Don’t Know’ More Often
We think we’ll lose people's trust if we don’t have all the answers. The opposite is almost always true.
9 Reasons Pastors Should Say ‘I Don’t Know’ More Often
Image: Hilary Perkins | Flickr

In 35 years of ministry, I've been asked a lot of questions.

Some are easy to answer, others leave me scratching my head.

I used to stress over the hard questions. Or give pat answers. Or take a stab at an answer and hope I’m right.

I don't do that anymore, since ...

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7 Steps to Help Your Church Change Before They Know They Need To
If we want a healthy church, leaders need to be see the big picture.
7 Steps to Help Your Church Change Before They Know They Need To
Image: Traci Lawson | Flickr

Our church turned a corner this year.

About 15 months ago ago, we felt it. Something wasn’t quite right.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but my youth pastor verbalized it.

“Is it me, or is something off lately?” he wondered.

“It’s not just you,” ...

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Church Growth
How to Grow a Big Unhealthy Church (Or a Healthy One of Any Size)
Churches stay unhealthy when we drive for greater numbers at the expense of greater health. Whatever size they may be.
How to Grow a Big Unhealthy Church (Or a Healthy One of Any Size)
Image: Rosmarie Voegtli | Flickr

Jesus never told us to make bigger churches.

He told us to make disciples.

When disciples and disciple-makers get together, they create healthy churches.

But sometimes we put more energy into making churches bigger than making churches healthier. Usually because of an agenda that ...

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The Raw Beauty of Giving God Our Second Best
Sometimes ‘God deserves our best’ can serve as a cover for our pride. God also wants our second best. And our worst. And everything in between.
The Raw Beauty of Giving God Our Second Best
Image: Stew Dean | Flickr

Is it possible for a church to rely too heavily on technical excellence?

That was the crux of a recent conversation I had with an old friend.

“I left my small church because the worship, programs and preaching weren’t always great,” she told me. “But I ...

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Church Leadership
Small Churches Exist: Deal With It
Seven acknowledgements we must make if we hope to value and empower every congregation of every size.
Small Churches Exist: Deal With It
Image: David Goehring | Flickr

Small churches are here and we’re not going away.

We’re tired of being treated like a problem that needs to be fixed, or ignored as if we don’t exist.

If you write or speak on church leadership issues, I implore you to take note of this huge oversight, and start ...

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Church & Culture
Why Church Leaders Will Never Understand Millennials
We need to stop seeing people as demographic groups and get to know them as individuals.
Why Church Leaders Will Never Understand Millennials
Image: iulia Pironea | Flickr

Millennials are a mystery. Especially if you’re a Baby Boomer like me.

In the Boomer era it was not unusual for over one-third of the nation to be watching the same TV show. During the day, up to half the neighborhood listened to the same radio station on their drive home. ...

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