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 ...
Church Leadership
How I Overcame My Dread Of Talking About Money From The Pulpit
Why should our approach to meeting financial challenges be any different than our approach to meeting every other challenge?

Pastors fall into one of three groups when it comes to money.

  • Pastors who hate talking about money at all
  • Pastors who talk about money obsessively
  • Pastors who have discovered a biblical balance

Most pastors I’ve met, maybe two out of three, are in the first group. We want ...

Continue Reading ...
Money And The Small Church: Job One – Don’t Spend More Than You Bring In
You can’t spend your way into church growth, congregational health or kingdom impact.

When it comes to the issue of Money And The Small Church, (or money and big churches, money and family finances, money and business, etc.) there is one principle that stands high above all the others.

It’s so basic, I almost feel silly having to write it. But it is Job ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
Money And The Small Church: 3 Reasons We Must Talk About It (New Series)
While having money is no guarantee of church success or health, poor money management will always undermine good ministry. We have to get better at this.

Many people have a love/hate relationship with money.

Including me.

I don’t like thinking about it, talking about it, teaching on it or worrying about it.

And I really don’t like asking for it. (No, this article isn’t me asking for it.)

I don’t like what ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
Love God, Love People, Make Disciples – Everything Else Is Scaffolding
Every program, building and denomination is temporary. They should stay in place only as long as they are being effective.

When a building is being repaired or erected, scaffolding is the temporary structure that is built around or inside it to give workers access to the construction site. But when the building is completed, the scaffolding is removed.

Every church program, building, denomination ...

Continue Reading ...
Christian Unity
What About Those Sheep-Stealing Megachurches?
Megachurches keep getting bigger while small churches seem to struggle more than they used to. It's easy to think one is causing the other.

There’s a lot of conversation going on about megachurches.

In my context of ministry to small churches, much of the conversation surrounds this question. Are megachurches actually reaching new people for Jesus, or are believers gathering into ever-larger groups, leaving ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Growth
Is the Megachurch Era Over? Yes. And No. (And Other Contradictory Answers)
Megachurches aren't going away. Nor should they. But we need to make room for other models, too.
Is the Megachurch Era Over? Yes. And No. (And Other Contradictory Answers)
Image: Hernán Piñera | Flickr

In recent years there’s been a lot of talk about the impending demise of the megachurch.

But is the era of the megachurch really drawing to a close?

I have four answers to that question:

  • Yes
  • No
  • I hope so
  • I hope not

Let’s look at these four contradictory responses one at ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Pastoral Transition: Why Change When You Don’t Have To?
It’s not how we act when things stay the same that tests our strength and character, it’s how we act when things change.

Yesterday, I was back in my home church after being gone for a month doing conferences and taking some vacation time with my wife, Shelley.

We’ve taken time away before, of course, but this time it was different. Because when I came back yesterday, for the first Sunday ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
Does Attracting A Crowd Make Discipleship Harder?
Going along with the crowd has never been the Jesus way. Standing apart from the crowd? Now that sounds like Jesus.

Drawing a crowd to church may not be the best way to start people on a path to discipleship.

In fact, I’m beginning to think that it may hurt our discipleship efforts more than help them.

For at least a generation now, the predominant thinking in most of the pastoral training ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
Yes, Our Church Still Calls It Easter – Here Are 5 Reasons Why
The word "Easter" is commonly believed to have pagan roots, but many scholars are making some strong arguments that this may not be so.
Yes, Our Church Still Calls It Easter – Here Are 5 Reasons Why
Image: CornerstoneFV.com | Created using canva.com

Wouldn’t it be great if Easter wasn’t called Easter? If everyone knew it as Resurrection Sunday instead?

But they don’t.

Our church uses both terms. But, as you can see in the artwork above, Easter is our church’s go-to term, not Resurrection Sunday. Especially ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
5 Ways Your Church’s Impact Can Become Bigger Than Its Footprint
When we equip the saints, the church’s impact can grow exponentially, even if its numerical or geographical footprint doesn’t grow noticeably.

Small churches can have a big impact.

Especially today, with the power of social media and other new ways of communicating.

But also, because so much of our lives are lived online, people are having a renewed longing for more personal, tactile, face-to-face experiences. These ...

Continue Reading ...

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters