Regenerate Conference | Western Ontario District, PAOC

Session 1: Redefining Success In Ministry

by 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)

 

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

 

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

 

 


Breakout: Casting Vision and Building a Leadership Team In The Small Church

 

Vision-casting is different in the small church

 

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

 

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

 

Build discipleship around relationships, not curriculum

 

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

 

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

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

  • Greet
  • Introduce
  • Follow up
  • Thank

 

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

 

 


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

 

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

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

 

Big church principles center on process, systems & programs

  • Small church principles center on relationships, culture & history

 

Ask for help

 

 


Session 3: Yes, Your Church Can Handle Change

 

Most stuck churches look like the neighborhood used to look…

…either when it was built, or at the last great pastorate

 

Churches can handle change, but they don’t like to be surprised

  • Move out of a destination mindset and into a process orientation
  • Give the leaders time to ponder big decisions

 

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

 

Challenges for the current and future church

 

When thinking small saved the world

 


NewSmallChurch.com • ChristianityToday.com/Karl-Vaters

Facebook.com/NewSmallChurch • @KarlVaters • CornerstoneFV.com

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