2019

Innovative Ministry
4 Unexpected, Counterintuitive Truths About Uncool Churches
When a church is blessing the people they’re called to reach, they should be celebrated, not ridiculed for not being cool enough.

In recent years, I’ve spent a lot of time ministering in churches of various sizes, styles, denominations and regions of the world.

Because most of my work involves resourcing small churches, a lot of that time has been spent in rural communities, agricultural areas and ...

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Innovative Ministry
7 Ways Preaching Bad Sermons Can Help You Preach Better Sermons
There will be times when you feel uninspired, unprepared and empty. Preach anyway.

Some skills can be practiced in private. Some have to be worked out in the hard, cold spotlight in front of other people.

Writing is the first kind of skill. You can tweak it with no one watching. For instance, I made a bunch of mistakes in this article that you will never see, ...

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Church & Culture
Celebrating The Essential Role Of The Historically Small Church
Let’s help today’s small churches be as great as yesterday’s small churches.

Why do I love small churches?

Because I love the church.

It’s really hard to love the church and not have a warm spot for smaller congregations. They are, after all, the most common representation of the gathered body of Christ.

Also, I love small churches because I’m ...

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Small Church Ministry
Why Are There So Few Resources For Churches Under 50?
If you’ve learned something practical about pastoring a very small church, we need to get that information out to others.

There are a lot of small churches in the world.

By most estimates, over 90 percent of churches are under 200, and over 80 percent are under 100. In fact, it’s not unusual for half of the congregations within a denomination to have 50 or fewer people in attendance.

So why ...

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Church & Culture
To Spiritual Seekers, Doubters And Abandoners: We’ll Hold A Place For You
I stand with Jesus because I can find no other ground strong enough to hold the weight of my faith, my doubt or my hope.

There are a lot of spiritual seekers and spiritual orphans around.

And there are more every day. Including those who seemed to be firm in their faith.

Many long-time believers, even church leaders, are making statements questioning their faith. Others are taking a break from church ...

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Christian Unity
Why We Don't Have To Give In To Hopelessness
Life gets hard. Faith may feel futile. Hope can seem distant. But we can always persevere...

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...because Jesus.

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Church Leadership
The Distracted Pastor
It's great to have online influence, but not at the cost of our family or the congregation we’ve been called to lead and guide with love.

Last week, I came across a wonderful Twitter thread. I asked the writer, Matt Henslee, if he would edit it into a blog post that I could use here. He had just done so for his own website, but he also gave me permission to pass it along to you. (Karl Vaters)

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Innovative Ministry
There Is No Minimum Viable Size For A Church
There have always been a whole lot of viable churches with just a handful of people in them.

What is the minimum viable size for a church?

It’s a big question. One that pastors, denominational leaders and church planters ask a lot.

But the truth is, there is no minimum viable size for a church.

None.

What We Need A Minimum Size To Be Viable For

So why do we think there ...

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Small Church Ministry
7 Reasons Small Churches Are An Essential Part Of The Body Of Christ
Small churches have an amazing capacity to bounce back over and over again.
7 Reasons Small Churches Are An Essential Part Of The Body Of Christ

The body of Christ is made up of many parts.

Various denominations, liturgies, styles, and sizes.

And nowhere is that variety more evident, more delightful or (let’s be honest) more frustrating than in the amazing menagerie of small churches.

Big churches matter. Medium-size ...

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Church & Culture
Is Your Church Targeting A Demographic Group? Here Are 6 Reasons You Need To Stop
Seeing people as members of a group may be great for attendance, but it’s not good for discipleship.

For many years, church growth experts taught pastors how to do ministry by demographic groups. Decide the type of person your church is targeting, then design everything you do to reach that kind of person.

There were a lot of big churches built that way. And a lot of small churches ...

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Church Leadership
Are You Called To Be A Small Church Pastor Or A Big Church Pastor?
Three simple assessments that can give you an idea about the size of church you may be best suited to serve.

Some pastors are called to do ministry in a big church. But most are called to small church ministry.

So how do you know which one you’re called to? Is there a way to figure this out without trying and failing at one or the other?

In my decades of personal ministry experience ...

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Church & Culture
Want More Christian Influence? Get Off Facebook And Talk To Actual People
We can be loud, or we can be heard. We can seldom do both.

If we want to be heard by a lot of people, we can make our opinion known on social media. The angrier and more controversial, the more responses we’ll get. But we won’t really be changing anyone’s mind, just reaffirming what they already (think they) know.

If ...

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Innovative Ministry
How To Tell If A Church Is Too Big – Or Too Small
It’s never about the size of the church. It’s about the size of the mission.

Can a church be too big?

Yes.

Can a church be too small?

Also, yes.

Does that mean there’s an ideal size for a church?

No.

No Ideal Size

While there may be an ideal size for a specific type of ministry, a certain location, or a particular leadership style, there’s no overall ...

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When The Small Church Pastor's Biggest Critic Is In Our Mirror
Small church pastors can’t get mad at others for looking down on us when we keep looking down on ourselves.

Small churches and their pastors seldom get the credit they deserve.

Including from small church pastors ourselves.

Yes, it’s true. Often the biggest critics of small churches and the people who pastor them are staring at us in our mirror.

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Too many small ...

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Innovative Ministry
Great Churches Don’t Give People (Including Pastors) What They Want
Great churches don’t promise more of what we already have, they show us an entirely new way to be.

Henry Ford famously said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Today, if you were to ask the average pastor what they want, most would probably say “a bigger church.”

And if you asked the average Christian what they ...

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