Vital Initiative, Roanoke VA 2017

Innovative Ministry In a Small Church Context

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

 

Small is not a problem, a virtue or an excuse

 

Over 1 billion people choose to worship God in small churches

 

Ask for help

 

 

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

 

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

Move from “Oh no!” to “So what?” to “Now what?

 

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

Quality looks different in a small church than a big church

 

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 & programs

Small church principles center on relationships, culture & history

 

Big changes come from small places

 

Session 3: Thinking and Acting Like a Great Small Church

 

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

Front-load the value: feature what you do well

 

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?

 

 

Session 4: Finding and Discipling Leaders In a Small Church

 

Church leaders are not called to do ministry for church members

 

Build your training around relationships, not curriculum

 

Put friendliness front-and-center (The GIFT system)

  • 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 leaders

  • 10, 50, 100, 1,000
  • Look for Level 10 leaders, first
  • Find leaders by looking for servants

 

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

 

When thinking small saved the world

 

 


Karl Vaters • CornerstoneFV.com 

NewSmallChurch.com • ChristianityToday.com/Karl-Vaters

Facebook.com/NewSmallChurch • @KarlVaters