Greater Seattle Ministers Group

Redefining Success In Ministry  

with Karl Vaters


What is The Grasshopper Myth?

The false impression that our small church ministry is less than what God says it is because we compare ourselves with others.

All the people we saw there are of great size. …We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. – Numbers 13:32-33


Small is not a problem, a virtue or an excuse


Bigger fixes nothing


Don’t fall for IKEA Envy


People will come to small churches, but they won’t give up quality to do so



How to Discover And Use What Your Church Does Well


Over 90% of our churches are under 200, over 80% are under 100

  • First Reaction: Oh no!
  • Second Reaction: So what?
  • Final Reaction: Now what?


Many big church principles don’t translate well to a small church context


The law of large numbers: the bigger the crowd, the more predictably they behave


The smaller the crowd, the more impact each person has – for good and bad


Big church principles center on process, systems & curriculum

(Need help changing your church culture? I recommend Dirt Matters, by Jim Powell.)


Don’t do what your founders did, think like your founders thought


Discover what your church does well, then do it on purpose


Over 1 billion people choose to worship God in small churches



Preparing For Tomorrow By Equipping The Church Today


The pastoral prime mandate: Equip the saints to do ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12)


The three essential elements of a healthy, effective church:

  • Great Commandment
  • Great Commission
  • Equipping the Saints


It’s OK for a pastor’s vision to be helping people fulfill their vision


Use the “closet rule” for ministries: Don’t add a new one until you’ve dropped an old one

  • What does your church do well, that you would like to do more of?
  • What does your church do poorly, that you would like to do less of?


Move out of a destination mindset and into a process orientation


New generations will not build the kind of churches their parents built

  • Previous generations had relationships and built structures
  • This generation has structures and needs to build relationships


When thinking small saved the world • • @KarlVaters •