It's simple and straightforward. Leaders of declining churches have five choices. But putting them to practice is not so easy.
Many people have this naïve view that a pastor just has to preach and love people. Not so.
Many pastors and church leaders are miserable because of fewer than five percent of the church members.
In some ways, I don't like the official designation of October to be pastor appreciation month. I really wish we showed appreciation to pastors all the time.
For some reason, some church leaders just don't think they will get caught. Or they think the baby steps won't lead to major steps toward a total fall. Please read these four acts of stupidity carefully and prayerfully.
"Is this valley I am going through normal for pastors?" The question came to me directly from a pastor who was relatively new to his church. He was surprised how abruptly discouragement hit him.
Words have meaning. And if church members start articulating words consistently, those words begin to reflect the priorities and passions of the church.
Is your church too busy? Are many of your members overcommitted? If so, don't even think about adding a ministry, event, activity, or program without taking at least one away.
Many churches have become too busy for their own good. They have so many activities, programs, events, and services that they are wearing out their congregations.
The pastor's wife in many churches carries heavy burdens. Sometimes they are impossible expectations. Here are the top ten expectations imposed upon these ladies.
The days of the church secretary are waning. This position is being replaced with a more contemporary and beneficial position called the ministry assistant.
He is almost in every church. He is the church disrupter. Unlike church bullies, the disrupter rarely attacks leaders directly. He is good about stirring up dissension, but he seems to always feel like "God led me to do it."
It happened again this week. A pastor contacted me to let me know his deacons asked for his resignation. The reason? No one was really clear about it. Too many pastors are getting fired. It feels like an epidemic.
In most established churches, there is a prolonged period before the church members as a whole will truly embrace you as pastor. The majority of pastors never make it to year five.
Sometimes church leaders have to be reactionary. We can't always plan ahead. But many church leaders can be more proactive. Too many of these leaders waste valuable time because they were not prepared adequately.
Tens of thousands of congregations are one color, one race, or one group. Why? Why is this reality still taking place today?
Many churches are dying. Some are so sick that they are a few years, perhaps just months, from death. But too many refuse to do anything.
The last thing pastors need is someone to offer them advice. But I do want pastors to hear those pieces of advice that are really difficult to heed.
To be clear, organizational change is absolutely necessary ... some of the time. But much of the time, we lead organizational change for the wrong reasons.
We consider a church to be in dramatic decline when the average worship attendance drops by 20 percent or more in three months or less. What causes such unusual declines?
I love new pastors. It is fascinating to hear their thoughts after they have served as a pastor for a year or two.
I am assuming I have a few more years left in ministry. And this point in my life is both a time of reflection and looking forward. To be clear, I want to avoid seven dangers in my last years of ministry.
This post is not about a pleasant topic. It's about churches that have declined to the point where their near term future is in doubt.
Two-thirds of our churches are plateaued or declining. Since so many of our churches are in need of revitalization, let's begin by seeing what roadblocks hinder turnarounds.
The topic of evangelism has grown strangely quiet in many churches. Pastors are not talking about it. Other church leaders aren't talking about it. Members aren't talking about it.