articles published on Small Church Central

Are Your Church Facilities an Obstacle to Growth?

Check out the interior of national chain stores (grocery, pharmacy, clothing, restaurants, etc.) in your community. On average, retail businesses remodel their facilities every 4-7 years, and with good reason. There’s something about “new”. New additives to toothpaste. New vitamin potency in cereal. New styles in cars. New versions of software. “New” attracts. By contrast, […]

Rural Church Does Outreach through Children’s Ministry

What’s your congregation’s focus and form of outreach? As a small congregation – average weekly attendance of around 95 – in a rural setting (“at the intersection of beans and corn”), Prince of Peace Lutheran Church of Hudson (Stroh), Indiana focuses its outreach efforts on the public elementary school in its community. Its form of […]

Music for a High School Choir

Recently I shared the story of our Celebration Singers, the singing group that came to be because three singers asked for it.  Here is a list of 15 songs they’ve especially enjoyed: Christmas Title Composer Publisher/# Voices Come to the Manger Van Wormer Kjos 5877 SATB Gloria! (recording) Stephens Alfred SVM01077 SATB Hodie Christus Natus Est […]

RENOVATE!

When I was in college and seminary, I paid my tuition by working in construction. Many of the projects we worked on involved tearing down something old and replacing it with something new. The idea was to retain the integrity and charm of the original room or building, while also making it more functional, beautiful, […]

Karl Vaters 5: Writing a Book for Small-Church Pastors

The following is from Chris Bolinger’s fall 2015 interview with Karl Vaters, whose 2012 book The Grasshopper Myth has led to a twice-weekly Christianity Today blog and frequent speaking engagements…in addition to his many responsibilities as the pastor of a church of around 200. That church is in what Vaters calls the Megachurch Central region of […]

Karl Vaters 4: Being an Effective Small-Church Pastor

The following is from Chris Bolinger’s fall 2015 interview with Karl Vaters, whose 2012 book The Grasshopper Myth has led to a twice-weekly Christianity Today blog and frequent speaking engagements…in addition to his many responsibilities as the pastor of a church of around 200. That church is in what Vaters calls the Megachurch Central region of […]

Karl Vaters 3: Measuring Success in a Small Church

The following is from Chris Bolinger’s fall 2015 interview with Karl Vaters, whose 2012 book The Grasshopper Myth has led to a twice-weekly Christianity Today blog and frequent speaking engagements…in addition to his many responsibilities as the pastor of a church of around 200. That church is in what Vaters calls the Megachurch Central region of […]

Karl Vaters 2: Thinking Like a Small-Church Pastor

The following is from Chris Bolinger’s fall 2015 interview with Karl Vaters, whose 2012 book The Grasshopper Myth has led to a twice-weekly Christianity Today blog and frequent speaking engagements…in addition to his many responsibilities as the pastor of a church of around 200. That church is in what Vaters calls the Megachurch Central region of […]

Connecting and Building Relationships through Lifetree Café: Part 2

The following is from a fall 2015 interview between Chris Bolinger of Revitalize Ministries and Craig Cable, the National Director of Lifetree Café. The complete interview is in Today’s Vital Church, Volume 2. To read Part 1, click here. Cable: We find that we should just say, “God, we’re going to have a room full of people, and […]

Connecting and Building Relationships through Lifetree Café: Part 1

The following is from a fall 2015 interview between Chris Bolinger of Revitalize Ministries and Craig Cable, the National Director of Lifetree Café. The complete interview is in Today’s Vital Church, Volume 2. Cable: The concept of Lifetree Café was born out of some prayer meetings that started a few years before I joined Group. The […]

Churches Band Together to Reach Their Community for Christ

Once a vibrant part of a manufacturing corridor that extended from Pittsburgh to Detroit, the Warren-Youngstown area of northeast Ohio has been struggling economically since the steel mills and other manufacturing plants declined and closed a generation ago. Halfway between Warren and Youngstown is Girard, a town of fewer than 10,000 people. In early 2012, […]

Why Collaborate?

There are many challenges we face as leaders, such as: Burnout and loneliness Similar burnout and loneliness among others who lead with us Lack of new leaders Lack of vision or creativity and resulting struggles with casting a vision Lack of buy-in for our vision I believe that one simple thing can provide solutions to […]

Hope for Your Church in Prayer

“In order for the church to be revived, it will demand a mighty work of God’s Spirit.  Following a particular methodology or program does not guarantee success.  One might greatly desire for the church to revitalize and grow, but genuine church growth calls for more than personal passion.  It requires the Spirit of God.” [1] The […]

Feeding Hearts

Late last night I headed to the grocery to pick up some needed items.  As I was leaving the store’s parking lot, a car came roaring through the lane next to me.  I say “roaring” not because it was speeding, but because the car’s windows were down and the ground was shaking with the emanating […]

Why Churches Don’t Grow

Healthy people grow. Healthy animals grow. Healthy trees grow. Healthy plants grow. Healthy churches grow. Growth is a characteristic that God breathed into all living things. And the body of Christ – the local church – is a living thing. So, when a church is not growing, it is helpful to ask: “Why not?” Here […]

Done and Gone…or Are They?

In my role as the Director of Church Publishing at Group, I spend a considerable amount of time chatting with pastors, denominational leaders, and church trend watchers. About five years ago, I’d say that most of my conversations centered around whether churches in America were actually in a state of decline. Then, about three years […]