Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250
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Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of Under 250

Moody Publishers / 2018 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW418064


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Small does not mean unhealthy, insular, poorly managed, or settling for less. Small churches are often healthy, dynamic, and equipped to minister to their communities in ways that large churches just can’t. Both big and small churches play vital roles in the kingdom of God, but they each require a different set of tools. Yet most resources are produced by big church pastors and give advice that works well for big churches, even though most churches are small. And using big church tools for small church problems doesn’t work. Small Church Essentials is about getting the tools to make your small church great. Karl Vaters, a leading voice on small church ministry, shares:

  • Why many healthy churches do and should stay small
  • How to tackle chronic small church issues
  • How to serve with passion and measure success well
  • How to lead your church to fulfill the role only a small church can.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 220
Vendor: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: 2018
Dimensions: 8 X 5.25 (inches)
ISBN: 0802418066
ISBN-13: 9780802418067

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Publisher's Description

Do you lead a small church? 

Big churches get all the love. Articles, books, conferences—they mostly feature leaders of large congregations. Yet big churches are a small part of the ecclesial landscape. In fact, more than 90 percent of churches have fewer than 200 people. That means small churches play a big part in what God is doing.

Small Church Essentials is for leaders of these smaller congregations. It encourages them to steward their role well, debunking myths about small churches while offering principles for leading a dynamic, healthy small church.

Based on the popular six-hour lecture that Karl Vaters delivers to church leaders across the country, Small Church Essentials will affirm small church leaders and show them how to identify what they do well, and how to do it even better. Readers will:

  • Be assured that leading a small congregation does not make them ministry failures
  • Come away inspired to lead with passion, regardless the size of their church
  • Have field-tested principles for leading a church in their context
  • Possess new metrics for biblically measuring vitality in small churches
  • Have a toolkit of resources to use in their everyday ministry

Karl Vaters has been a small church pastor for 30 years, is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us (2013), and travels extensively to churches and conferences to speak about leading a small church well.

If you are pastoring a small church, this book will be a breath of fresh air. It will affirm your calling while giving you fresh tools to help you lead. It will help you:

  • Stop believing lies about small churches
  • Lead your church to fulfill the role only small churches can
  • Understand your congregation’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Turn around a dying or unhealthy church
  • Identify good trends and bad in church and culture

Author Bio

KARL VATERS has been a small church pastor for thirty years. He leads Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California. He is author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us (2013). He writes about the value and needs of small churches for Christianity Today and is the founder of www.NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects, and equips innovative small church pastors. Karl and his wife, Shelley, have three kids (Veronica, Matt, and Phil) and one son-in-law (Sam).

Product Reviews

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  1. Visser
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Read It!
    April 25, 2018
    Visser
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I enjoyed the book Small Church Essentials. I enjoyed this book because I am a pastor of a small church in a small town. I could relate to many issues and mindsets that Karl addressed in his book. I enjoyed the fact that Karl discussed the issue of small churches being unhealthy or a problem. But on the flip side, Karl also addressed the negative mindsets that come along in all sizes of churches. For example in a small church, it's easy to hate mega churches and even medium churches, accusing them of stealing other members of churches. But it's also easy for prominent church pastors and members to look at small churches and think they are unhealthy or neglecting their calling and duty to the people they are serving.

    Karl in section two talks about the ebbs and flows of church attendance in small churches. One week could have higher numbers while the other week could have lower. This could all be due to something that is happening at the church. For example, a baby dedication brings more people, but the flu season keeps them away. This is important as a small church Pastor to understand because in a small church you will feel the ebbs and flowers more than your large church pastor would. But the key is to keep moving forward and preach/teach and conduct your service in a faithful manner unto the Lord.

    I enjoyed chapter 5, talking about pastors who think their church is small because it's weird or different. They counsel their body and hear stories that they haven't heard any other church face, and they presume that they are weird and that's why they are small. Throughout this chapter, Karl gives us tools how to deal with the situation that seems strange or that no one has dealt with ever.

    I also appreciated that Karl addresses the church growth issue. That we in North America get so hung up on numbers of attendance that we miss the big picture. We need to be as Karl said: "always striving to increase our capacity for effective ministry." This helps us keep our eyes on the prize and not just trying to start new ministries for the sake of packing more people in a room.

    Chapter nine was very beneficial, in addressing issues that seem to plague small churches. Karl doesn't just address the problems; he also gives you solutions to remedy them. Reminding us not to move to fast or too slowly, to always assume honourable motives in people who like to control everything.

    Overall I think Small Church Essentials is a beneficial read for both small church pastors and large church pastors. Anyone who is aspiring to be a minister would probably benefit from this book. Why? Because as the author himself says "at some point in your life, you will pastor a small church." How is that statement true? Well, you'll just have to read the book and find out!
  2. CKing
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    You Will Be Encouraged!!
    March 6, 2018
    CKing
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    My husband and I have been small church pastors for 18 years - and both of us grew up in small churches. I became familiar with Karl Vaters though his first book "The Grasshopper Myth" and was very much looking forward to this new book! I was selected to be a part of the launch team and receive a pre-release copy of the book.

    I was not disappointed.

    Karl knows small churches. He knows their heartbeat, their challenges and their blessings. Time and again you come away thinking, "This guy GETS IT!" So the idea of reading a book about ministry and coming away feeling connected - like someone REALLY understands where you are, is in my estimation, no small thing.

    Karl focuses primarily on the philosophical view of small church ministry - which is great. Personally, I would've loved to have seen a lot more Scripture. (He does use Scripture and principles based on Scripture, for my own taste you can't have too much, and I would've loved to have seen more.) However, what he does do is offers a counter-point to what we mostly read in church ministry books.

    What you read in this book - you will be able to apply to any small church situation in any setting (urban, small town, rural), any number of people, any circumstance.

    You will be encouraged. You will be challenged (being small with limited resources is not an excuse to be idle or sloppy!). You will be motivated!

    For some - what you read will be a confirmation of what you've thought for years - and just seeing it in writing will be a balm to your soul.

    For others - what you read will be revolutionary and you'll wonder why so few have had the courage to go against the grain and say it.

    You may cry - just knowing you're not alone.

    You may shout - because you'll feel excited about ministry again.

    Get this for yourself.

    Get this for a friend.

    Be encouraged.
  3. jhembree1
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Get This Book!
    March 5, 2018
    jhembree1
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I finished this book a few days ago...and wow. Such. Good. Stuff. Im fortunate enough to be on the launch team for this book.

    Often, statistics are cited showing that somewhere around 85% of churches have an average attendance of under 250. Many times, those stats are talked about as a bad thing. But Im more and more convinced that small isnt bad. Those stats mean small is normal.

    I love the Church of Jesus Christ. I love big churches, and I love small churches. I think we need both, as both meet different needs in the Kingdom.

    This book comes along to say, If small is normal, then lets be the best small church we can possibly be. Heres how. Karl Vaters hits the nail on the head with Small Church Essentials!
  4. jhembree1
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Get This Book!
    March 5, 2018
    jhembree1
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I finished this book a few days ago...and wow. Such. Good. Stuff. Im fortunate enough to be on the launch team for this book.

    Often, statistics are cited showing that somewhere around 85% of churches have an average attendance of under 250. Many times, those stats are talked about as a bad thing. But Im more and more convinced that small isnt bad. Those stats mean small is normal.

    I love the Church of Jesus Christ. I love big churches, and I love small churches. I think we need both, as both meet different needs in the Kingdom.

    This book comes along to say, If small is normal, then lets be the best small church we can possibly be. Heres how. Karl Vaters hits the nail on the head with Small Church Essentials!
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