Small Church Ministry
Small Church Essentials Is Here!
It’s not about wanting churches to be small; it’s about wanting small churches to be great.

Today is the day!

You can now buy your copy of my new book, Small Church Essentials, for yourself or for a church leader you know.

Small Church Essentials is the result of all the time I’ve spent writing for, speaking with, and – most importantly – listening to small church pastors and other leaders over the five years since writing The Grasshopper Myth.

To get an idea of what this new book is about, here’s a snippet from the intro:

This is a book about small churches.

For small churches.

By a small church pastor of over 30 years.

This book is not about how to get your small church to become a big church. It’s also not about how small churches are better than big churches. (They’re not.) And it’s definitely not about settling for less. It’s not about wanting churches to be small; it’s about wanting small churches to be great.

In my 30 years of pastoring, I’ve learned that small churches can’t be great without three things:

  1. They have to believe they can be great.
  2. They need to see what a great small church looks like.
  3. They need resources designed for great small churches.
Karl Vaters gets it. In Small Church Essentials, Vaters provides insight and ideas for the pastoral majority—those leading smaller churches under 250 in attendance.
– Thom S. Rainer

So I started searching and asking questions that felt awkward, even a little rebellious.

“What if there's another answer, besides getting bigger?”

“What if there's a way for small churches to be dynamic and healthy?”

“What if, instead of helping our churches be more effective, pushing them to get bigger is actually stealing time, energy and resources from other ideas that might actually make us more effective at the size we are right now?”

Those questions equipped me with a new set of lenses that are helping me see church leadership in a different way. I'm discovering principles that I would not have found if I hadn't shifted my focus away from church growth. Church growth principles aren’t wrong; it's just that there's more to it.

This book is my attempt to organize and present some of the more foundational and universal small church principles I've learned. Through these new lenses, we can start seeing church health, not as a means to growth, but as a means to effectiveness.

These are the small church essentials.

Endorsements

I’ve been blessed to receive some wonderful endorsements from many church leaders, some of whom will be well-known to you, but also from so many of my fellow in-the-trenches small church leaders. Here are a few of them:

Karl Vaters covers the aspects of leadership, ministries, and pastoral care in a way that will connect with and serve you well.
– Ed Stetzer

Small churches seldom get the respect they deserve, or the resources they need. Karl Vaters put thirty years of effective ministry into this practical, winsome, and informed word of encouragement and challenge to the small church pastor. It is clear to me that a church does not have to be big to be great. But not many people can tell how to become great while being a small church. Karl does. He covers the aspects of leadership, ministries, and pastoral care in a way that will connect with and serve you well.

Ed Stetzer (Billy Graham Distinguished Chair, Wheaton College)

Sitting down with this resource is like sitting down with an old friend, one you may not know you have, but desperately need. That’s because when it comes to being a small church pastor, Karl has lived it, denied it, dreamed it, tried it, succeeded at it, failed at it, tried it again, AND written about it all.

Karl has done his best to remove the stigma of being a small church pastor, because it’s OK to be one. There are a bunch of us in this world and we need his transparency, and his insight. So, grab a cup of coffee, a soda, or your beverage of choice and sit down across the table with Karl as he shares his experience while encouraging us all to fulfill our calling of building God’s Kingdom.

Scott and Deena Siddle (Small Church Pastors, LifeSpring Foursquare, Ridgecrest CA)

Karl Vaters gets it. He knows church size isn’t necessarily an indicator of church health. Small churches can and do impact God’s kingdom. In Small Church Essentials, Vaters provides insight and ideas for the pastoral majority—those leading smaller churches under 250 in attendance.

Thom S. Rainer (President and CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources)

Karl Vaters is a voice to and for small church pastors, and Small Church Essentials speaks their language. With keen insight and remarkable clarity, Karl both affirms and equips small church pastors. An absolute must read, whether you’ve been pastoring for months or decades.

Carl and Kalani Culley (Pastors of Lacamas Creek Church. Founders of Big Little Church Conference, Camas, WA)

Book Outline

Small Church Essentials is organized into four main sections:

PART ONE: SMALL ≠ BROKEN
PART TWO: THINKING LIKE A GREAT SMALL CHURCH
PART THREE: BRINGING NEW LIFE TO AN EXISTING SMALL CHURCH
PART FOUR: BECOMING A GREAT SMALL CHURCH

Some of the chapter titles include:

  • Small Churches Are Not a Problem, a Virtue, or an Excuse
  • Why Is My Church So Weird?
  • Is Your Small Church Stuck or Strategic?
  • A New Way to See Small Church Vision-Casting
  • Mentoring and Discipleship in the Small Church
  • Doing Ministry from the Church, not Just in the Church
  • Your Church Is Big Enough

Thanks

I have so many people to thank for this book.

An absolute must read, whether you’ve been pastoring for months or decades.
– Carl and Kalani Culley

Starting with my wife Shelley, and my family. Also to the folks at Cornerstone, my home church, to whom the book is dedicated.

The folks at Moody Press have been a joy to work with. And the Launch Team has done, and is doing, a great job getting the word out.

Now the book is yours.

My prayer is that you can take what works for you and your church, toss what doesn’t, and pass the blessings along to others.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.

March 06, 2018 at 3:12 AM

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