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 never be larger than 250 people
  • Reality #2: 99.9% of pastors will pastor a small church for at least some time in our ministry
  • Reality #3: You can lead a small church well, without settling for less


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


Pastoring a small church is not a penalty for doing something wrong

  • It’s a specialty and it’s worth doing well


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


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


The GIFT Plan for a friendlier church

  • Greet
  • Introduce
  • Follow Up
  • Thanks


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


Your church is big enough


Session 3: Becoming a Great Small Church


Small Church Essentials

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


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


Hearing God’s Heart Together

1. The Sweet Spot: God, the church and the pastor’s hearts meet

2. The Default: God and the pastor, but not the church

3. The Listening Place: God and the church, but not the pastor

4. The Danger Zone: The Church and the pastor, but not God




Session 4: Preparing for Tomorrow’s Church By Equipping the Church Today


The pastoral prime mandate: to equip God’s people for works of service (Ephesians 4:11-12)


The three essential elements of a healthy, effective church

Great Commandment         Great Commission               Equipping God’s People (Eph 4:11-12)


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


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


Find leaders by looking for servants

  • Value passion and willingness over experience and status


When thinking small saved the world • • @KarlVaters •