Someone got me riled up today about church growth. It seems that so much of the leadership and training material available wants to show all of us pastors how to move into the arena of success and blessing.
In case you’ve never noticed (psst, I know you have!) ministry is not always about success, growth, coolness, good times, rad (is that still a thing?) music, and the latest technology for worship and church management.
Yet, every day as pastors we deal with other struggles, stresses, and challenges. Off the top of my head in about six minutes, I made the following list of topics I think most small church pastors are dealing with every week.
What do you think of this list. What topics would you add to this list?
Again, what do you think of this list? What topics would you add to this list?
Do you think this should double as a future podcast episode topic list?
Have a wonderful weekend loving and serving God by loving and serving your church family – and guests!
On episode 76 of the podcast, we are featuring 200church pastor, Scott Carson! Scott is in his 26th year of ministry at Grace Church in Burlington, WI.
After 25 years in the same church, you gain some wisdom and perspective on pastoral ministry in a 200church. Scott shares some of that wisdom with us in this episode.
Scott has been serving the Lord at Grace Church since 1988 as the Senior Pastor. He grew up in Atlanta, GA, holds a Bachelors Degree from Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin, and a Masters Degree from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Prior to serving at Grace, Scott was an assistant pastor in Danville, IL, and helped start a church in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. He has a business background, having previously been involved in commercial sales and marketing.
In the podcast he talks about coming alongside community leaders as a friend and encourager. We sensed his heart for the people of his community, whether or not they attend his church.
Scott and his wife, Jane, have three children: Charity, Ben and Aaron. Scott will quickly tell you that the five greatest days of his life have been “the day I accepted Christ, the day I married Jane and the birth of each of our three children.”
Scott says that Jane is his secret weapon (our term!) in ministry and family. He credits her for having three children who love the Lord and the church.
Scott is a dedicated student, an avid reader and even a bit of a book collector. He is committed to providing clear, practical teaching and preaching of God’s Word.
Scott is very active in the community, having served on a community drug task force, is a member of the Burlington Rotary Club and an Ambassador for the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also the chaplain for the Burlington Police Department.
We are so honored and proud to have this 200church pastor join us today. You can check out the website for Grace Church here, and be sure to notice their new building plans – still growing in year 26!
We know you will be challenged and encouraged by this episode and or so happy to be able to share it with you!
The heart of 200churches is for the pastors of small churches. These men and women are the ones who make it happen. Our desire is to HONOR, ENCOURAGE, AND CHEERLEAD the pastors of small churches, all around America and the world!
In our current Christian culture, it can seem that large churches are the more successful, and more spiritual churches. Because they are large, God must be blessing them more. This simply is not true.
It would be like saying that the church, in a large group, worshiping in the auditorium, is more important or spiritual or successful than one of its Sunday School classes or small groups. No, no, no! They’re just different. They’re all important, and can all be successful and spiritual, just the way they are!
So we care about the pastors in these churches. They can be discouraged, ignored, passed by, or pitied. We want none of that. They should be honored, prayed for, and encouraged. We want ALL of that!
It is wonderful to pastor a church of 50, or a church of 200, or 500. They are all wonderful. Well, actually, they can all be brutal, right? Of course, such is the nature of ministry to people (just ask Moses!) But being a pastor to people is a wonderful, important, significant experience, no matter the size of our church.
AND – so many of us have come from smaller churches! I did. And I have been in ministry for almost 30 years now. Jonny came from a small church. The truth is, the vast majority of all pastors and missionaries today grew up in small churches.
Is your church small? Fantastic! You can produce pastors and missionaries too. Hopefully, you will also produce accountants, nurses, factory workers, cab drivers, custodians, CEO’s, teachers, and counselors – all committed to the Kingdom of God!
Are you a small church pastor? Great! Then take it very seriously! Work just as hard as you would in a megachurch – love your people, set office hours, visit in homes and workplaces and schools, counsel, study, preach and teach, comfort, encourage, and serve! YOU are a small church pastor, and YOU can be a part of moving the Kingdom of God forward for Jesus, the King.
This week on the podcast we have Scott Carson, the pastor of Grace Church in Burlington, WI. We met Scott through 200churches.com. He is not an old friend. He did not attend that SUPER SECRET pastor’s retreat in Pennsylvania. (He did attend the Desiring God conference!) He is a small church pastor, a 200church pastor, and a subscriber to 200churches.com.
He has served at his church for over 25 years – same church! He is going to share some of the wisdom he’s gained from all those years of ministry with all of us this week. You will be encouraged.
This week, we have another 200church pastor on the podcast with us. One of us. Just like us. Scott Carson. Doing it up big in the Badger State! That’s Wednesday on episode 76 of the 200churches Podcast! We can’t wait!
Bill Hybels tells the funny story about visiting a small church while on his summer study break in Michigan. The first Sunday he was there the person singing special music walked up on the platform with their own mic, and plugged it into the mic cord causing a loud pop followed by a screech. It was both startling and nerve shattering.
The second weekend he attended the exact same thing happened. “This is a problem!” he said to himself. Then he wondered, “is there a leader in the house?” He went on to say that leaders are problem solvers; their job is to solve problems.
This week we talked with Dan Reiland about solving problems in our small church, one at a time.
Pastors are notorious for being blind to all the problems after their second year. They see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.
The church members just shake their heads and wonder, “when is someone going to fix this problem?!” I know this is true pastors, because I do it! When Jonny arrived at our church, he proceeded to point out to me all the problems. That is, the problems that I had been blind to.
Dan talked about asking outside pastors to come into your church, and see the things you stopped seeing years ago. He’s so right! Jonny did that for me, but you could get a pastor to come without paying his salary. He will gladly critique your church with your cheerful permission.
If you are committed to being a problem solver for your congregation, bring in some outside eyes. If they attend a service on the weekend, they will see some of the problems you don’t see anymore.
We have three questions for you:
Ask for God’s help, make your list, and get to solving problems! You can do it pastor. Use the six steps Dan talked about in episode 75. We believe in you!
We are so excited and happy to be able to offer this episode, #75, of the 200churches Podcast to all of our small church pastor friends!! Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA, BRINGS THE HEAT! It's so fun to produce a podcast that small church pastors do not need to adapt to their smaller context - it's already dead on for you!
In the process of giving six thoughts about problem solving, Dan provides some priceless leadership tips that you can begin to implement... TODAY.
Here are the six simple thoughts for solving problems one at a time that Dan unpacks in this episode. I list them for your reference, but the podcast is so much better! :)
Dan mentions Robert Morris and his book, The Blessed Life: Unlocking the Rewards of Generous Living.
We hope that you are encouraged, inspired, and affirmed as you listen to this episode. Your leadership, teaching, pastoral care, and oversight of your 200church is making a HUGE impact in the Kingdom of God. God loves his sheep and has given you to them to love and care for them. Enjoy it even as you assume the responsibility very seriously.
This week we are talking about problem solving in the 200church. Do you have problems, challenges, or struggles in your ministry? Are there ones you have not been able to solve?
Do you ever feel like you are living out the fabled definition of insanity every week in your pastoral ministry: “doing the same thing over and over and always expecting a different result”? Sometimes I do!
Here are some common problems that pastors of small churches face:
How do you begin to solve problems like these?
On Wednesday, on episode 75, we talk with Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville GA. Dan talks with us about six simple things he does when he needs to solve a problem in his ministry.
We think that if you apply this process, you will be better able to solve some of those nagging problems in your church.
Join us on Wednesday for Episode 75: How To Solve Problems, One At A Time, In Your 200church.
Your people deserve a church with a few less problems! And, we know how much you love your church family, and we hope that our conversation with Dan will help you minister to them more powerfully.
This week with John Pletcher we have talked about multiplying workplace missionaries in our small churches. If you had to grade your church on this concept, on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being best, what would you grade it?
Do you, as the pastor, have a good grasp on where the adults in your church work?
Have you ever viewed those workplaces as outposts where your people take the Gospel?
Have you ever considered the kind of people that your church members work with, and tried to equip each member specifically to reach out to the people around them?
Did you, prior to listening to this week’s podcast, ever truly view the people in your church, in action at their workplaces, as the best missionary outreach strategy your church could have?
How are you and the other church leaders training and equipping your people to be missionaries to their workplaces?
Let’s think out loud for a minute…
All these questions… Just a thought. :)
Do you remember what it’s like to have a job that wasn’t being a pastor?
If you’re a full-time vocational pastor, it might have been awhile since you punched the clock in a secular work environment. For the bi-vocational and house pastors out there, you know well the struggles that face people putting in long hours, and how hard it is to see a redemptive quality in often-times monotonous work.
I worked at a bank before I got my foot in the ministry door with Jeff, and I remember how difficult it was to find purpose in my work. I believed the lie that church work is spiritual and everything else is not.
The reality is, all work is important to the Kingdom.
On this episode of the podcast, John Pletcher, the lead pastor of Manor Church in Lancaster, PA walks us through some of the key points of his book, Henry's Glory: A Story for Discovering Lasting Significance in Your Daily Work, and provides us with some guidance about how we as pastors can encourage and affirm the men and women in our churches who are part of the workforce.
There is an unhealthy division in the church between what is done for God and the practical aspects of life. John talks about a guy from his church who saw Sunday as his “God” time and Monday through Saturday as his “real” time.
What is really convicting about that story is that, in many cases, it’s pastors who are responsible for making people feel as though their work is disconnected from the Kingdom activities they participate in at church.
As 200church pastors, we have unique opportunities to really encourage our people on a personal level and affirm them and the work that they’re doing week in and week out.
We can visit our people at the office.
Buy them lunch and learn about their jobs.
We can genuinely show them that we know what they’re doing at work is important to the Kingdom of God.
This week, how can you encourage someone in your church and demonstrate to them that their work is valuable? How can you help someone see the Kingdom impact they’re having - Every. Single. Day?
Don’t miss out on listening to this podcast and the information that John shares. It truly can have a big impact on the way you think about your church people, and their "secular" work!
You can find John Pletcher on Twitter at @JohnEPletcher and online at www.JohnEltonPletcher.com. You can find his book, Henry's Glory: A Story for Discovering Lasting Significance in Your Daily Work right here!
Check out this quick video from our trip to Wichita!
The video image above is the real opulent and luxurious office of our District Superintendent. Oh yeah. We recorded a great podcast episode for small church pastors in this office - soon to be released!
This week on the podcast we will talk about:
Jonny and Jeff will talk to John Pletcher, Lead Pastor of Manor Church in Lancaster, PA. Jeff met John at that Super-Secret Pastor’s Retreat in the hills of western Pennsylvania.
One of John’s passions is to help church members see how God wants to use them right where they are, in the workplace, marketplace, business, or factory – to do Kingdom ministry with the people all around them.
While John pastors a larger than 200church, he cares deeply for pastors of all size churches, and has developed a resource to help them guide their people through the discovery process.
John’s book, Henry’s Glory, has a subtitle that says it all: A Story for Discovering Lasting Significance in Your Daily Work. This book combines a fictitious story, with strong theology, and “end of chapter” small group questions that combine to create transformational teaching.
As John and Jeff talked in Pennsylvania, it became clear that John could really help us as 200church pastors. He can help us to empower and equip our people to truly discover that lasting significance right there in their place of employment, where they spend so much time, and have so many relationships.
We are so excited to have John join us on Wednesday because all of us pastors need the help! We need our people to join us in ministry to our community. We need workplace missionaries all over our towns and communities! We really believe that our people, the church, deployed at their jobs, are the most overlooked resource we have.
Finally, it is our calling, our responsibility as pastors, to equip our people to do the work of the ministry not just in our own church family, but throughout our community.
What have you been able to do in your church, to equip, empower, and enable your people to be workplace missionaries? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below!
We’ll see you on Wednesday for Episode 74, How To Multiply Workplace Missionaries In Your Small Church.
Relationships, conversations, and connections – all important to me.
Today I spent time with a couple church people. I prayed with Jonny in our auditorium.
I had lunch with my wife. I met with my staff.
I waved to my neighbor while running through the rain. I talked with my pastor-coach, Dave Jacobs.
Jonny and I recorded a great conversation with a pastor from Pennsylvania, that tonight I turned into something called “episode 74”.
I watched a review of the Spurs-Heat game on ESPN with a student who knocked on my door at 11:00pm.
I talked on the phone with a woman whose father is in the hospital.
I spoke to the bank about a check I deposited on Monday, that never showed up in my account. They called me back – they found it!
I listened to Pat Flynn for thirty minutes this morning while getting ready for the day.
I texted three of my four kids. I hugged the fourth one.
I sent 18 emails to people that I know.
The greatest relationship, conversation, or connection I could have, on any given day, is my relationship with the triune God.
In an age where I can make almost endless connections every day with people next door or on the other side of the world – as a pastor I get to model and practice my connection with God.
With him is the greatest relationship I could ever experience.
I’m gonna have a busy weekend, and I’m gonna make sure to spend my best part of it, with him.
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