November 2016

Small Church Ministry
3 Assumptions & 5 Realities About Why So Many Churches are Small
Even with the arrival of megachurches, small churches are the primary way people choose to worship Jesus.

Why are there so many small churches in the world?

Ninety percent of churches have fewer than 200 people. Eighty percent have under 100.

Small churches are not in the minority. We are the overwhelmingly dominant way people have always chosen to worship Jesus.

Yet, despite this, ...

Continue Reading ...
Christian Unity
5+ Churchy Things I'm Thankful For – Even If I Don't Like Them
It's important to distinguish between personal preferences and moral absolutes if we hope to maintain our integrity.

I hate opera. And Brussels sprouts. And spiders.

But I'm glad they exist. Because they all serve important functions.

Saying I don't like something is not the same as saying it's bad.

Opera isn't bad. In fact, it's artistically important and brings joy to many ...

Continue Reading ...
Church & Culture
Have Coffee With a Radical: The Value of Listening to People We Disagree With
If we’re only hearing from people who think like us, we're missing out on a lot. Politically, theologically and relationally.

I have friends I’m not supposed to have.

From every imaginable political, theological, social, ethnic background, and more.

People with whom I have radical, even angry disagreements.

Yet they remain my friends.

Not just in the Facebook way. In the old-school, meet face-to-face ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
12 Ways to Know If You’re Pastoring Like a Boss – Or Like a Leader
There are some simple ways to tell the difference between a boss and a servant leader. And they come from the example of Jesus.
12 Ways to Know If You’re Pastoring Like a Boss – Or Like a Leader
Image: Mikel Ortega

The church needs fewer bosses, more leaders.

And even more servants. In the pulpits, not just the pews.

Sadly, too few people in positions of authority know the difference between being a boss or being a leader. Mostly, because we haven't grasped servanthood.

There are some ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Growth
Why I've Stopped Saying ‘Church Growth’ – And What I Say Instead
The words Church Growth are packed with so much emotional baggage that they’ve become virtually useless in my context.

I’m a huge supporter and promoter of growing churches.

How can I not be? Jesus said he’d build his church, and I always want to be on Jesus’ side.

But I’ve stopped using the term Church Growth when I talk about it.

I never tell our church staff, volunteers ...

Continue Reading ...
Church Leadership
How Often Should a Church's Leadership Meetings Be Held?
Church leadership meetings should happen as often as needed, but never more often than necessary.

Staff, deacons, department heads, volunteers and others.

Even in a small church, there are several types of leaders. And we need to have healthy, open communication with them.

Recently I was asked, “in a small church, how often should church leadership meetings be held?” ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Grandma Went to Woodstock: 5 Principles for Pastoring a Vibrant Older Congregation
The generation that grew up on Led Zeppelin will affect our churches differently than those who listened to Lawrence Welk.
Grandma Went to Woodstock: 5 Principles for Pastoring a Vibrant Older Congregation
Image: Carol | Flickr

Everyone in church leadership seems to be talking about how to reach millennials.

But what do you do when your church is filled with seniors? Is there a way to build a strong church with them? Or does it always have to be about younger people?

I hear those questions a lot. And ...

Continue Reading ...
Small Church Ministry
Does Saying 'It's Okay to Be Small' Give Churches an Excuse to Settle for Less?
Every church should be actively participating in kingdom growth. But kingdom growth doesn't mean every church will keep getting bigger.

The idea that small churches can be great churches is a hard concept for a lot of people to swallow.

I get it. It was hard for me to swallow for a lot of years, too.

So when people raise questions about it, I appreciate their concerns and I try to engage with them in some constructive ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
Expanding the Sweet Spot for a Healthy Church Turnaround
Knowing and expanding the zone where the hearts of the pastor and congregation meet up with God's heart is essential for a successful church turnaround.

There are three primary participants in a local church. God, the pastor and the congregation.

Trying to turn a church from unhealthy to healthy without all three in full cooperation, will lead to frustration, failure and heartache.

Knowing and expanding the zone where the hearts ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
The 4 Most Overlooked Realities of a Healthy Church Turnaround
Many pastors say “I want this church to turn around”, when what we really mean is “I want this church to get bigger.” Those are two different goals.

Leading an existing church through a turnaround from unhealthy to healthy is one of the hardest tasks a pastor will ever be called to do.

And it’s even harder when we’re trying to do so without understanding some basic principles needed for a successful turnaround ...

Continue Reading ...
Innovative Ministry
3 Surprising Misunderstandings About Church Turnarounds
What one person means by church turnaround might be completely different from what another person means.

Do you want your church to experience a turnaround? If so, why?

There are a lot of good reasons. Among them, you might want to see your church move from:

  • Unhealthy to healthy
  • Inward-obsessed to outward-focused
  • Stuck in the past to excited about the future
  • Unloving to loving
  • Uninviting to inviting
Continue Reading ...

Read More from Karl

Follow Christianity Today

Free Newsletters