August 2018

Innovative Ministry
5 Preaching Styles In 25 Years (Here's What I Changed And Why)
Our language keeps changing, our common experiences are fewer, and universal illustrations no longer are.

Preaching matters.

According to no less an authority than the Apostle Paul, the spoken message of Christ crucified is one the ways God has chosen to bring his message of salvation to the world (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

Because preaching matters, those of us who are entrusted to ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
New Music Is Not Worth Fighting For – So What Is?
Change may be necessary. But we need to get there by fighting the important battles, not the trivial ones.

Are you a pastor trying to make needed changes in the church, but meeting a lot of resistance every time you introduce something new, like a worship song, curriculum or order of service?

Here’s a universal truth that I discovered through decades of experience trying to ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
Why The Public Salvation Call Is Harder In A Small Church (And A Couple Alternatives)
While small churches may not see salvations every week, we must be ready for them when they happen.

Introducing people to faith in Christ is a central component of what it means to be the church.

Like me, many of you were raised and still minister in an environment where the Great Commission is followed by a public call to salvation at the end of every church service.

The Altar ...

Continue Reading ...
Small Church Ministry
Celebrating 50,000 Baptisms – No Matter How Many Churches It Takes
Saddleback Church deserves to be honored for baptizing 50,000 people over the last 38 years. But we should never limit our attention to churches with outsized numbers.

Last week, Saddleback Church celebrated an amazing spiritual milestone. Since their founding 38 years ago, they have baptized 50,000 new believers.

That is something the entire body of Christ needs to pause and thank God for. 50,000 people making commitments to Christ in one ...

Continue Reading ...
Small Church Ministry
Why We Stopped Taking Attendance At Our Church For A While
Getting more precise numbers wasn’t going to fix the obvious problems or identify the undiscovered ones.

Numbers matter, because people matter.

If we keep track of them correctly, the right numbers can give us a lot of helpful information about a church and its ministries.

For many years, I kept track of church attendance numbers very carefully. As the church grew, I calculated growth ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Pastoral Transition: Six Factors That Help A Church Navigate Big Changes
Churches that resist change have a harder time when change is needed. Churches that regularly make smaller transitions hone their transition skills.

Six months ago today, our church made our biggest transition in a quarter century.

After being the lead pastor for 25 years, I stepped aside so that Gary Garcia (the youth pastor who has been with me for that entire time) could take my position, while I became the teaching pastor. ...

Continue Reading ...
Small Church Ministry
The Biggest Misunderstanding About Small Church Pastors
We don't have a limited vision. Our best contributions to Christ’s kingdom happen to be in a smaller setting.

There are a lot of misunderstandings about small churches and the people who pastor them.

  • That we’re a problem to be fixed
  • That we could be bigger if we’d just follow the latest 8-step church growth plan
  • That we can only do good ministry when we hit a certain critical mass
Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
The Invisible Scandal: How Bad Debt And Poor Stewardship Are Killing The Church's Reputation
People want to give. God wants to provide. Our churches need to be places worthy of those gifts and that provision.

There’s a scandal going on in the church today.

It is one of the biggest scandals in church history, yet it remains invisible to most of us.

No, it’s not the sexual sins of some of our leaders. It’s not the physical, emotional and spiritual abuse of church members, ...

Continue Reading ...
Small Church Ministry
Why There’s No “Typical” Sunday In A Small Church – And 5 Ways To Adapt To It
Small church pastors aren’t bad at planning, they’re just dealing with a much more fluid situation than our big church peers.

How was church attendance yesterday?

In our church, we started the first service with more people on stage than in the audience.

It filled in to a normal summer crowd later, but for a while it was looking rough.

That’s the way attendance is in a small church. You can have ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
The World Isn’t Looking For a Bigger Church, They Want A Better Church
What people really want from the church are the characteristics the New Testament has always told us the church is supposed to be about.

Pastors want bigger churches.

Church members? Not so much.

Sure, a lot of people go to big churches. That’s what makes them big, after all. And the majority of them are strong, healthy churches doing great ministry. But if you ask the average member why they attend, “because ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
5 Steps To Move A Church From A Static To A Dynamic Organizational Style
Lack of an Org Chart is no excuse for lack of organization.

There are two different types of churches, organizationally.

Static and dynamic.

As we saw in a previous article, Why Most Small Churches Don’t Use (Or Need) An Organizational Chart, the smaller the church, the less necessary it is to use a static organizational system.

Static ...

Continue Reading ...
Include results from Christianity Today

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters

More Newsletters ...