2018

Church Leadership
The Biggest Mistake Teaching Pastors Tend to Make – And How To Correct It
Jesus didn’t tell us to teach students, he commanded us to make disciples.

If you are a teaching pastor, I have a gift for you. I’m going to share one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in 35+ years of pastoral ministry.

It happened when I recognized that I was commiting what is probably the biggest mistake most teaching pastors ...

Continue Reading ...
Bigger? Or Better? Yes, Your Church Has A Choice
“It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you’re maximizing growth, you’re also maximizing success.” (Bo Burlingham, in Small Giants)
Bigger? Or Better? Yes, Your Church Has A Choice
Image: From cover of Small Giants, by Bo Burlingham

Better churches become bigger churches. Right?

Maybe not.

That’s been the rule of thumb for businesses, too. And it’s no more true there than it is for us.

As it turns out, constant growth doesn’t work for the majority of churches or businesses. Yet they can still ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Growth
In Addition To "Why Is Your Church So Small?" We Need To Ask “Why Do We Want It To Be Big?”
As hard as we work to grow bigger, how many of us stop to ask the essential question “what are the advantages of bigness?”

By far, the most common question I’m asked about small church ministry is “if your church is healthy, why is it so small?”

It’s a valid question, for sure. And one that I’ve answered in several previous blog posts, including these:

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
The Two Biggest Mistakes Churches Make With Money
The answer to bad stewardship isn’t more money or more faith. It’s better stewardship.

There are two equal, but opposite mistakes churches regularly make regarding money.

Especially for smaller churches, these are the main ways that finances (or lack of them) stop us from doing the ministry we’re called to do.

(This is part of an ongoing series, Money and ...

Continue Reading ...
How To Give Money Less Power Over Your Church
A congregation's financial reality should never be ignored, but it should never be in charge.

Money is in charge of too many of our churches.

So many good congregations want to do great ministry, but their limited finances cause them to make too many decisions based on what they can or can’t afford, instead of what God is calling them to do.

It’s a trap that ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
9 Common Social Media Tactics That Never Draw Anyone Closer To Jesus
For most, maybe all of these tactics, I can see the good motive behind it. But good intentions are not enough.

Social media has no moral component to it – except the ones we give it. It's just a tool.

A very powerful one.

And we’re only beginning to grasp its impact.

When used well it can connect, inform and entertain us. But when it’s used poorly, as it so often is, ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
Churches Renovate Their Building, On Average, Every 30 Years? Really?!
A church building doesn’t have to be big, fancy or cutting-edge. But it needs to facilitate the mission.

Uh… Wow.

Every 30 years?

Yes, those are the stats, according to a church renovation expert I heard at a recent conference.

By the time his company is called in to help a church renovate their sanctuary, lobby, exterior or anything significant, it’s been three full ...

Continue Reading ...
Time, Not Money, Is The New Church Commitment Currency
Church giving patterns are changing. Here are 5 ways to get our churches ready for that reality.

The Sunday morning pass-the-plate offering has always been a reliable predictor of the commitment level of church members.

Long before they started leaving – often before many started complaining – people would express their dissatisfaction with a church by stopping ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
Church Attendance Patterns Are Changing And We Have To Adapt
It’s not enough be an attractional church, a caring church, or even a teaching church. We need to become an equipping church.

Church attendance is changing.

As recently as 20 years ago, if ten people became church members (either formally or informally) the average attendance grew by eight or nine people.

Not any more.

Today, if ten people become church members, average attendance grows by five or six. ...

Continue Reading ...
Christian Unity
The Growth Gap: How The Megachurch Phenomenon Has Unintentionally Isolated Small Churches
As midsize churches adapt systems based on megachurch models, the ministry gap between them and the average size church is expanding.

Sometimes it seems like the divide between big and small churches is so vast it’s almost insurmountable.

And it’s increasing, not diminishing.

Why is that happening? And why has the divide has become especially large in the last few decades?

I think it has to do with ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
The Mission Deserves Margin: Minister To The Church You Have, While Preparing For More
While pastoring the people we have, we need to create in-house systems and outward ministry suitable for a church of double our current size.

A church of 50 people needs to be pastored like a church of 50 people.

You can’t act like a church of 500. Or even 100. The systems, methods and relationship dynamics simply won’t fit.

So how can a church grow, either in its size or effectiveness, if we’re only ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
A Friendly Reminder: “Come To Jesus” Is More Important Than “Come To Our Church”
We have become so used to tethering evangelism to our church’s programming and attendance that we can forget they're not the same thing.

Here’s a sincere question for my fellow pastors and other church leaders.

What if the members of our churches started sharing their faith, but it wasn’t in a way that brought more people to our specific church? Would we celebrate and encourage that?

If not, we may ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
Want More Church Leaders? Look For A Servant’s Heart
It’s better and easier to encourage a servant to lead than to get a leader to serve.

It’s hard to find people who will step up and lead in the church today. Especially young people.

That’s what I keep hearing.

But I also see many churches that are the exceptions to that supposed rule. Including the amazing congregation I get to serve.

What are healthy ...

Continue Reading ...
Christian Unity
5 More Reasons To Go To Church In Person: Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell, Taste
When all our senses are involved we learn more, engage more, enjoy more, contribute more and remember more.

If we want to get everything we can from our church experience, we need to start by showing up in person.

That may seem obvious to most churchgoers, but there is a large and growing number of people who think that watching a service online is all the church they need.

And no, ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
6 Reasons Many Pastors Don’t Need An Office Any More
For most pastors, a desk in an office is one of the least creative spaces imaginable.

The pastor’s office is a time-honored tradition whose moment has come and gone for a lot of us.

Over the last 35-plus years of ministry, I have spent thousands of hours in my office. Joyful, frustrating, heartbreaking, boring, wonderful, life-changing hours. Hours spent ...

Continue Reading ...
Include results from Christianity Today

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters

More Newsletters ...