I always feel a bit awkward giving preachers advice on preaching since I’m an Executive Pastor who only preaches a few times of year, but just hear me out. I’m actually probably more qualified than most people because while you are preaching the messages, I’m in the audience listening to them. And over the years I’ve listened to hundreds of messages, some from great preachers and some from not so great. Thanks, Facebook Live! Over the years I’ve noticed what I believe are some huge mistakes many pastors are making.
Here are the ten I believe you should avoid.
There’s something powerful about repetition. Doing the same thing day in and day out. Over time habits start to form, and those habits play a big role in our lives. If you have good habits, your life tends to go well. If you have bad habits, your life tends to fall apart. In the same way that our lives have habits, your church has habits as well. Sometimes those are good, and unfortunately sometimes those are bad. If the church has good habits, things tend to go well. If the church has bad habits, things tend to fall apart.
When the church I serve was just getting started, it had a lot of bad habits.
We would never get started on time, we let anyone have the floor to speak or sing, and we had monthly business meetings. Yikes!
It took years for us to get out of these, and we lost some people along the way.
You know as well as I do that bad habits are hard to break.
Eventually, we started to develop some good habits in a lot of different areas of our church, but I want to focus...
Well-known radio personality, Dave Ramsey, promotes a first baby step to financial freedom on his radio program. Ramsey instructs the listener to collect $1,000 into an emergency fund before taking on any other financial steps. I have found one of the benefits to following this advice is that the savings account changes the definition of emergency. Before following Ramsey’s guidance, a damaged tire with a replacement cost of $70 (back in the day of course) constituted an all-hands-on-deck emergency. The emergency account reduced the crisis to the level of an irritant with little consequence to daily life.
While Ramsey’s advice is regarded as rock-solid financial guidance, many churches could benefit from a volunteer emergency account. A volunteer emergency account is a pool of people who are not being used routinely for a program to function. This limits churches in much the same way as the lack of an emergency fund.
It is not unusual to hear of a church that loses a...
I believe it was Nelson Searcy who originally came up with the idea of growing your church through “Big Days.” A “Big Day” is an all out push toward a single Sunday in order to see a large increase in attendance on that day. He actually wrote an entire book around the idea called Ignite: How to Spark Immediate Growth in Your Church. The idea is that if you can get a large number of people to your church on a single day and create a great experience for them, then there’s a very high likelihood that many of them will stick. So, with that in mind I wanted to share with you a few “Big Day” ideas for this fall.
The Tailgate Party
If you live in the United States, you understand how much people love football. It doesn’t matter if it’s College Football or the NFL. Either will draw millions of viewers each week. The only thing Americans may love more than football is eating. So, what did they do? They decided to combine them into a...
Guest Post by Brett Bixby
There’s no guarantee that a first time guest will visit your church this week, but if they do, will you prepared to receive them? One of the biggest mistakes small town churches make is not preparing with guests in mind. We can’t afford to make that mistake. Our mission is much too important. So, I’d like to share with you a training we did with our teams, that you can take and share with yours.
Maintaining your church facility may be the most overlooked aspect of leading a small town church. This could be for a variety of reasons including budget, time, and the meetings needed to get something done.
While all of these are major factors to consider, the one thing that seems to hold most churches back is vision.
No, not the kind of vision you’re probably thinking. I’m talking about the vision provided by your eyes. Most facility issues never get dealt with because they’re never really noticed, at least not by you, because you’re used to it.
However, new visitors notice them because they’re laying a fresh set of eyes on a new place. So, they notice the cobwebs in the corners, the stains in the ceiling tiles, and the weird smell coming from the bathroom.
If they notice enough of these issues, they make the decision not to come back. It doesn’t matter how well they’re greeted, how much fun their kids had, or how much they enjoyed...
I participate in many Facebook groups.
Actually, I’m a member of more than enough of these groups. However, my motive is mutual benevolence. I’m there to learn from others. I’m also present to help others when I can. There’s no better feeling for me than to know that I have been able to help another person.
Sometimes, a fellow minister just needs to ask some things out loud. There’s nothing like a safe environment in which to bounce ideas around.
Recently, I stumbled across this question. “What are the small church givens that should always be in place no matter the particular community or denomination, but are not talked about as much because they are given?”
The question called my mind to action. I interpreted “givens” to mean must-haves. And so I thought I’d share my list of must-haves with my Small Town Big Church, Kingdom-minded friends. They’re listed here without any thought given to the order in which they...
If you pastor a small town church, you know that every giver matters, because every dollar matters. You and I don’t have the luxury of having millions of dollars in the bank. The median household income for a family in the community my church serves is $37,000. And believe me, most of the time our church isn’t getting close to ten percent of that. So, money is always a challenge, which is why you need to know the different types of givers in your church.
I have absolutely no problem with a pastor knowing what each person in the congregation gives, as long as they don’t show favoritism. Treating someone differently because of what they give isn’t necessarily favoritism, in most cases it’s about addressing each person where they are in their spiritual maturity. You engage them differently.
That’s what this post is for. It’s to share with you how we engage different types of givers. So, let’s get started.
If there’s one thing that frustrates me the most about small town pastors, it’s the assumptions they make about the churches they serve. They assume their church won’t change, so they never challenge them. They assume their church won’t grow, so they never inspire them. They assume their church’s best days are behind them, so they resign themselves to a slow and painful death. Be careful about the assumptions you make because your assumptions may be the biggest problem in your church.
The church I serve has defied every assumption. There’s absolutely no reason we should be where we are today. Churches in towns of 2,000 people shouldn’t average 600-700 people in weekend attendance. That’s unheard of.
They shouldn’t be able to start a new campus, buy a new building, and grow to 250-300 people in weekend attendance at that campus within the first two years.
Our staff is not that smart, we’re not even that talented, and we...
Ministry is hard. I hate saying that because it sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m actually just stating a fact. According to the statistics, between sixty to eighty percent of those who enter the ministry will not make it past ten years. Less than fifteen percent of pastors will last long enough to retire from ministry.
This past December I celebrated seven years in full time ministry. I have a long way to go, but I can honestly say it’s been the most enjoyable seven years of my life. For me, I’m living my dream, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
There are seasons of stress, especially around big events or when we’re implementing new initiatives. There are times when the ministry has affected my marriage in a negative way.
There are moments where I would really like to tell someone what I’m thinking but I can’t. And on occasion I think to myself, you know I could make more money if I went and did something else.
I have these...