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 • • @KarlVaters •

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