Innovative Ministry
Forget The Extras – Your Church Needs To Get The Basics Right
Your church might not have the budget or the staff to do the extras, but that’s okay. You can do what matters.

There are so many great tools available to churches today.

From social media, to audio and video tools, to cool giveaways for first-time guests.

But none of that matters until you’re doing the essentials well.

Be Good, Not Fancy

This week I went to a restaurant with a large ...

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Church & Culture
What The Church Can Learn From The People Of New York About Being Repairers Of The Breach
When we’re at our best, the church isn’t just another group on one side of the partisan political conflict that pits people against each other.
What The Church Can Learn From The People Of New York About Being Repairers Of The Breach

Thank you, New York.

You taught me how to be a better Christian, pastor and peacemaker this week.

For the past five days, my wife, my sisters, their husbands and I walked all over New York City with my parents as we celebrated their 60th anniversary.

New York is filled with some ...

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Church & Culture
Your Facebook Account Has Not Been Hacked – But Your Credibility Might Have Been
If we can’t be trusted to get verifiable facts right, how can we be trusted about a story that rests on the fact of a dead body rising from the grave?

Another day, another Facebook scam.

But this one isn’t Facebook’s fault.

Last weekend you may have received a message telling you your Facebook account was duplicated, but you can fix it by copying the warning message and forwarding it to your friends.

Hopefully, you ...

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Innovative Ministry
Think Bigger: Why “How Do I Get Our Church To Grow?” Is The Wrong Question
I’m grateful for the church growth movement. But I want more.

In the last 40 years, church growth has moved from an indefinable mystery to a quantifiable science.

There are innumerable books, conferences, classes, podcasts, magazines and blogs dedicated to the study of church growth. What causes it? What hinders it? What can we do to make ...

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Church & Culture
3 Reasons Upcoming Cultural Changes Will Hit The Bible Belt Especially Hard – And What To Do About It
If you've never lived outside a predominantly Christian culture, the next few decades will continue to rock your world. But there is hope.

The world is changing. In good ways and bad.

If you live in America’s Bible Belt (predominantly the Midwest and South) you are probably feeling the impact of these changes to a greater degree than those of us who live outside it. And those feelings are likely to grow for ...

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Innovative Ministry
Intentional Friendliness: Making A Great First Impression In A Smaller Church
Coming to a small church for the first time is an act of great vulnerability. So it’s important to do the personal things well.

You only get one chance to make a first impression.

That’s one of those truisms that’s actually true – in church and in life.

One of the hallmarks of healthy churches is that they work hard at making a good first impression. Helping guests make the leap from ...

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Innovative Ministry
Engagement: A Small Church Advantage We Need To Cultivate
Getting a few people engaged and involved is far more important than attracting a big crowd.

The smaller the group, the more likely there will be a higher percentage of members engaged in the goals of the team.

This is true for groups of all types, including churches.

In the last few years I’ve come to appreciate this principle in some very concrete ways. And it’s ...

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Innovative Ministry
Stop Complicating Ministry: The Smaller The Church, The Simpler We Need To Keep It
Ministry will never be easy, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.

So, you pastor a small, struggling church.

You’re trying to help it become less small and less struggling, but all the “can’t miss” answers from the latest church growth conferences never seem to work for you.

You don’t have a big worship team singing ...

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Christian Unity
All Churches Make Mistakes, Why Do Ours Feel Fatal?
Christ is with us when we suit up again, even though we fell flat on our face the last time we went on the field.

No church is perfect.

Some churches make mistakes but keep growing and moving ahead at lightning speed, while other churches make similar mistakes, but can’t seem to make even the smallest forward progress.

Every pastor of every plateaued church experiences this. And every ...

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Church Leadership
9 Principles For Creating An Annual Budget In A Small Church
With the possibilities for small church budgeting being so flexible, are there guidelines that are universal? I believe so. Here are nine of them.

Big churches and small churches design their budgets very differently.

While large churches spend their time balancing percentages, designing requisition sheets, and tracking an increase or decrease of giving as one measurement of the church’s health, small churches deal ...

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Innovative Ministry
No, A Church’s Budget Is Not Always A Reflection Of Their Priorities
Compassion, worship, discipleship and evangelism don’t need to be in the budget to be a priority. They just need to happen.

One of the airtight principles of church leadership is that you can tell what a church’s priorities are by looking at where they allocate their funds.

That is true in some churches, but not in all. Maybe not in most.

Here’s why.

The vast majority of churches are small, ...

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Church & Culture
Want To Go Deeper And Wider? Underline New Stuff
I can’t gain new understanding of anything – even of the ideas I already agree with – if all I do is keep reinforcing old facts.

Are you an underliner? I am. Unless I’m reading for pleasure, it’s almost impossible for me to pick up a book unless I have something to underline or highlight it with.

When people read books, they tend to underline or highlight the sentences they agree with. Give ...

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Innovative Ministry
Is Your Church Resisting Necessary Change? Try This Helpful Strategy
Wise and loving pastors don’t attack people’s affection for the past, they ease their fears about the future.

Not all change is good.

The church exists to worship the God who never changes, as seen in a book whose newest pages are 2,000 years old. That’s some serious long-term consistency.

But the way that permanent message is delivered always changes. Traditions that we think of ...

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Church & Culture
Why “Finishing Well” Can Never Be Our Main Reason To Behave Morally
We need to behave morally not so we can keep our reputations intact, but because hurting other people is wrong. Always wrong.

Finishing well in ministry really matters to me.

Especially since I now have more ministry years behind me than in front of me.

I want every day of my ministry life to matter. And I want to end it having brought honor to Christ, his church and my family.

This has become even more ...

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Church Leadership
When Church Members Keep Second-Guessing Your Pastoral Decisions
Unlike politicians and major league coaches, most of our critics aren’t strangers in the stands, they’re people we know very closely. 

What do pastors, politicians and major league coaches have in common? A whole lot of people who’ve never done their job are convinced they could do it better.

The less experience they have the more certain they are, because those who’ve actually done it know how hard ...

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