Big News! It’s Time to Say Goodbye to NewSmallChurch.com

finish startIt’s been said that the only thing that is constant is change. (Heraclitus, 534-474 BC)

Thankfully that’s not entirely true. We serve a God who never changes.

But for everything else? Heraclitus had it right.

I’ve written a lot about the need for church leaders to be open to change, to innovation and to doing things we’re uncomfortable with. Jesus never changes, but our methods must.

Now it’s time for me to practice what I’ve been preaching.

Next month (July, 2015) I will write my final post for this site. After that, NewSmallChurch.com will no longer be an active blog.


(UPDATE: NewSmallChurch.com is sticking around, after all! Click here for a new post with great news, including updates about this site and the new blog!)


 

That’s the bad news – and the first part of this change.

Now for the good news – and the second part of this change.

NewSmallChurch.com is ending so that something even better can begin.

Starting in late July, 2015, I will be blogging for Leadership Journal at ChristianityToday.com!

When the new blog starts, it won’t look much different from what you’re used to seeing, aside from the Leadership Journal layout and the ChristianityToday.com web address. I’ll be blogging on the same subjects as I’ve done here. And I’ll be back to my regular three-times-a-week schedule (you may have noticed I haven’t kept that schedule for the last few months. It’s taken a lot of work to prepare for this).

 

An Invitation and an Opportunity

So how did this new adventure come about?

This is an opportunity I never expected. And it started with a surprising invitation.

Almost a year ago Drew Dyck, the editor of Leadership Journal, asked me if I would like to become a regular contributor to their magazine. I said a very enthusiastic “yes”, so the last several print issues have featured articles by me on Small Church issues. (Click here to read my latest article for them.)

But that was just the beginning.

In addition to the quarterly print magazine, Leadership Journal has been operating under a new website/blogging model. Instead of having their own standalone website, all the magazines operated by Christianity Today are under one roof at ChristianityToday.com.

This gives them a stronger web presence and allows them to serve their subscribers better – including giving their readers one place to get all their resources.

That’s part 1, and it’s been in place for over a year.

Part 2? Well, that’s where I come in. 

In order to get as much information as possible into the hands of their readers, Leadership Journal is partnering with a few carefully chosen bloggers who can help them fulfill their mission of encouraging and equipping church leaders. So Drew Dyck contacted me again to ask if I’d consider blogging for them.

I was stunned by the offer. And, to be honest, a little wary, too. After all, I’d worked hard to build NewSmallChurch.com. And it has attracted a much larger audience of readers than I ever expected to have. Now he was asking me to give it all up?

So I did what I always do in such situations.

I panicked. (Just kidding).

I prayed.

I thought about it.

I called friends and mentors to ask them what they thought.

Then I prayed some more.

I wrote down a lot of questions that came from those prayers, conversations and long evenings thinking. Then I called Drew Dyck and ran them all by him.

Obviously, he answered those questions well, since I am making this leap, but there are a lot of them, so I’ll be taking the next few blog posts (the final ones for NewSmallChurch.com) to tell you what many of those questions were, along with Leadership Journal’s answers.

Some questions I’ll write about in the next week include…

  • Will readers have to be paid subscribers? (Hint: you can keep your credit card in your pocket)
  • Will I need editorial approval for what I write?
  • What happens to NewSmallChurch.com and the posts I’ve already written?
  • How will people buy The Grasshopper Myth without NewSmallChurch.com?
  • How will current subscribers follow me to the new blog?
  • …and more

 

I Need Your Help

None of this has happened without a lot of help. From God’s blessing, to my family’s support, to my church’s unwavering encouragement.

But none of that help surprised me. After all, they’ve supported and encouraged me for years.

What surprised me is you.

There are so many of you who read, comment, subscribe and share every blog post I write. I’ve met many of you and made some great new friends – most online, many in person. I’ve heard your stories. I’ve prayed with and for you. You’ve prayed with and for me. And I’ve been blessed beyond measure to hear how this blog has encouraged so many Small Churches and their leaders to stay the course.

So now, I’m asking you to partner with me on this new leg of a journey I never expected to take.

Come with me to ChristianityToday.com. Keep reading, commenting and sharing.

This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for the voices of Small Churches and their pastors to be heard in the broader church leadership world. I need you with me if I hope to represent you well.

 

Small Churches Matter – And not Just to Us

We know Small Churches matter.

And now Leadership Journal and Christianity Today are stepping up in a big way to say we matter, too. In fact, they care so much about Small Churches that they’re taking a big risk with their reputation (letting me be an official voice for them) and their finances (a $10,000 investment to build my new blog) to say they support Small Churches and their leaders.

This move will bring a lot of new readers into this conversation. Possibly as much as ten-fold, overnight.

TGM box sale 250cMany of these new readers will be Small Church leaders who will grab onto this encouragement like a lifeline, just as I did several years ago, and as many of you have done through reading this blog and The Grasshopper Myth.

But I also expect some negative feedback, too.

The idea that Small Churches have value is counter to the way a lot of church leaders have been taught to think about the church. I know, because I didn’t come to it easily myself.

I think I have thick skin. But I don’t know how thick it will need to be. So I need your prayers.

 

Prayer Needed

Pray that the Lord will help me write well.

Pray that I’ll say the right things, in the right way, at the right time.

Pray that those who react negatively will do so with kindness and a desire to elevate this much-needed conversation.

Pray that I will respond with grace to those who disagree disagreeably – and not take the mean comments to heart.

But mostly, pray that this important message will get to the pastors, teachers, deacons and other Small Church leaders who need it the most.

Pray for the discouraged to be encouraged.

Pray for the unequipped to get the resources they need.

Pray for lonely church leaders to know they’re not alone.

Pray that they will know that we care. That Leadership Journal cares. That ChristianityToday.com cares.

But mostly, that God cares.

For them. For their families. For their churches. And for the people they’re called to reach with the life-saving power of the Gospel of Jesus.

 


In my next post, I’ll let you know the name for the new blog!

Also, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section. I’ll either answer them there, or add them to my list for the final NewSmallChurch.com posts.


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(Start/Finish Line photo from Anne • Flickr • Creative Commons license)

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18 thoughts on “Big News! It’s Time to Say Goodbye to NewSmallChurch.com”

  1. Well Karl, this is such good news in so many ways. Here is to hoping that CT won’t charge for access to the blog as if it does, I will no longer be able to participate 🙁

    Either way, getting the ideas that the Lord has put on your heart and mind out there is one of the best things that I can think of to happen to and for the Church in my lifetime.

    Congrats!!!

    1. Thanks, Gary. And no worries – the blog will always be free. I wouldn’t have made the switch if the blog was going to charge its readers – that would keep it away from the people who need it the most.

      Leadership Journal wants it to be free so we can get the material out there to those who need it. It’s one of many things Leadership Journal and I agree on that make this such a great fit.

  2. I think this is a great and exciting opportunity for you. In a strange way it is kind of paradoxical in that you are moving to the “megachurch” platform of CT and away from the stand alone, smaller blog. But once one gets past that weird philosophical notion, if the writing stays on track with small churches, it will hopefully expand the blessings to many others through the exposure offered. This really does seem to be a “God thing” for you, and you dare not do otherwise than use it as a new platform for His Glory! Hope your vacation was wonderful (my wife and I were at the West Side Market yesterday) – it was good to meet you in person a few weeks ago!

  3. I am all for this new opportunity to spread the word about the importance and value of small churches. I have to say that I have found no other author out there who understands the small church like you do. Just keep up the good work in this new way! Thank you!

  4. I think it’s already working. I came to NewSmallChurch.com through reading your articles FIRST on the Leadership Journal website. Thanks for the good articles and encouragement to small church pastors. I look forward to more!

  5. Wow, Karl! Congratulations on this wonderful opportunity. I’ll look forward to reading your future posts, just as I’ve looked forward to each and every post so far. Good job!

  6. Karl, this blog has been a great source of encouragement for me. You saw a need (resources for and new thinking about small churches) and stepped up to fill it. Thank you. I am excited for this new leap you are taking and will definitely be following the new blog.

  7. Robert Van House

    I had been a follower of Leadership Journal for the decades before entering the small church arena. At that time, the articles were all slanted toward helping large churches become more of what they are, but missed where I was. Your articles have been a word of wisdom and encouragement for me. The church I serve is not just small, it is extremely small. I am glad that LJ has seen the niche you have been filling as something they need to include. I look towards returning to LJ that will include what you can offer to encourage even more of many church leaders of large, medium and tiny churches. Many blessing have been received through you. I pray that many blessings will be with you in your journey with Leadership Journal.

  8. Karl, congratulations. As scripture says, a man’s gift makes a place for him. God has given you a wonderful gift of guidance and encouragement, and He has given you a place to influence the kingdom of God in a greater way.

  9. Congratulations, and heck yeah I’m following you to the new site.

    The only down side: ChristianityToday’s comments are a lousy source of useful feedback. The cranks have free rein. Hence the writers don’t interact with them very often. Not that they ever really did; their thinking is still based on the print journalism model in many ways. I kinda like this back-and-forth between you and us in the comments… but it’s gonna be gone. Sad.

    Well, there’s always Twitter and Facebook.

  10. Congrats on the BIG NEWS for SMALL CHURCHES!! I’m pumped to know that as many as 10x the readership could have access to The Grasshopper Myth, because I know how much it has helped me along the way!

  11. Julian Pillay

    Thank you Karl for all your wonderful and inspiring articles. I always look forward in reading them as it is a great tool and encouragement. The bible reminds us that if we are faithful with small things, God will promote us to big things …. and in your case it literally happened. All the best in your new season and may you have many opportunities to impact and influence many pastors and churches, both big and small for the sake of the Gospel. Julian Pillay (South Africa)

  12. Wow, congratulations! I’ll miss newsmallchurch.com, but I’m glad that small church ministry is getting more thought by the “big guys” like Leadership Journal. All the best.

  13. What an honor to be a voice at CT and Leadership Journal for all of us who pastor small churches! I am looking forward to reading your new blog over there. I am a subscriber to CT and I am pleased that they are taking the small churches serious enough to have you write about our struggles and concerns, as well as our joys and our victories. Congrats!

  14. Karl, I’m so excited for you!! I know that God will use you in greater ways than you could ever have imagined!

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