Branson 2017

Taught by Karl Vaters

Session 1: Redefining Success In Ministry


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


Three undeniable realities of pastoral ministry:

  • Reality #1: 80-90% of churches will neverbe larger than 250 people
  • Reality #2: 99.9% of pastors willpastor a small church for at least some time in our ministry
  • Reality #3: You can lead a small church well, without settling for less


We need to pastor well under the 200 barrier before trying to break through it


Don’t fall for IKEA Envy


Bigger fixes nothing


Over 1 billion people choose to worship God in small churches


Small is not a problem, a virtue or an excuse



Session 2: Big or Small: What’s the Difference?


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


Big changes come from small places



Session 3: Becoming a Great Small Church


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


Don’t put a mission statement into words until you’re already putting it into action


Take a regular, honest assessment of your church and its ministries


Change your habits to reflect your current situation


Be willing to haul rocks in your Volkswagen

  • Use the building to serve people, not vice versa


Do ministry from the church, not just in the church


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



Session 4: Discipleship In the Small Church

Create a farm team by equipping the saints to do ministry


Put friendliness front-and-center

  • Greet
  • Introduce
  • Follow up
  • Thank


A simple 5-step discipleship process

  1. Meet With Every New Believer
  2. Determine How They Learn and Grow
  3. Connect Them With a Mature Believer and the Right Resources
  4. Help Them Plug Into An Active Ministry That Utilizes Their Gifts
  5. As People Mature, Call On Them to Start Leading Others


Use the Jethro system to raise up mentors

  • 10, 50, 100, 1,000
  • Look for Level 10 leaders, first


Find leaders by looking for servants

  • Value passion and willingness over experience and status


Start with one


The church needs a John Adams’ inauguration moment

  • When the priesthood of believers moves from theory to reality by training disciples



Session 5: What Do I Do When I Get Home?


Challenges for the current and future church

  • The way people give is changing
  • The way people commit is changing
  • The way people attend is changing
  • The way people trust is changing
  • Brand loyalty is dead


Hearing God’s heart together

  1. The Sweet Spot: God, the Church & the Pastor’s Hearts Meet
  2. The Default: God & the Pastor, but not the Church
  3. The Listening Place: God & the Church, but not the Pastor
  4. The Danger Zone: The Church & the Pastor, but not God


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


When thinking small saved the world • • @KarlVaters •