Showing posts from February, 2018

The Value of Understanding your Current Location on the Life Cycle

Many of the churches I work with are seated in small towns across rural America. While their challenges mirror those of other churches, their context can present different hurdles, especially when compared with churches in large cities. Typically towns with low  population and dated communities aren't at the top of the list for young leaders; if having a Starbucks was a deal breaker, many towns would be crossed off the list. As a result, churches in rural areas can struggle in attracting leaders from the outside. Even raising up and training local leaders can be a challenge because people often move away for better opportunities.  Here's are some stats from  Lifeway Facts and Trends  that further reveal the challenges of leading a church in rural America.  The Hartford Institute for Religious Research,  most American churches now have fewer than 100 in weekend worship attendance .  As the percentage of small churches grew since 2005, median weeken

Polishing your Discipleship Path

It's exciting to see new people at church each weekend. The number of new guests play a vital rol e in church growth. While it is important for churches to be appealing to new people, it is equally important  to make sure you have the right next steps so guests can find and follow Jesus. In Tony Morgan's book,  The Unstuck Church , he talks about the importance of creating pathways instead of programs. Unlike programs, a path offers a relational journey where people can grow in their relationship with Jesus and other people.  Here's the big question. Are you wanting to produce members or disciples? If membership is the end goal, you'll probably get a lot of names on the roster, but few people involved in ministry. Since Jesus made it clear that making disciples is the objective of the church (Matthew 28:19), we can't settle for a path that simply creates church members.  At the end of the day, every church has some sort a pathway.  Unfortunately, i

Polishing Your Easter Guest Strategy

Holidays can bring new people to your church and create opportunities for impact. Most pastors can easily name the big days that bring high attendance. But knowing about big days and planning for them are two different things. Too often, these calendar-given gifts sneak up on pastors, resulting in last minute planning and low impact. One of the biggest days comes early this year. Easter weekend is only a few weeks away! When big days sneak up on you, the rule of thumb is to  polish what’s working instead of trying to create something new.  Creating new requires time and planning, and time isn’t on your side. The most important thing to polish to enhance your Easter weekend impact? I think it’s probably your  guest engagement strategy . Gary McIntosh’s book  What Every Pastor Should Know  reports the responses from a number of interviews with people who visited a church for the first time. These people were asked, “What made the biggest impression? What affected your dec