Look to the Margins

According to Alan Roxburgh[1], the North American church in late modernity is firmly in liminal space…meaning that there is little that is firm or solid as we transition into a post-modern or post-colonial era.  “Liminality is a term that describes the transition process accompanying a change of state or social position,”[2] and our churches are […]

The Growth Debate

I had a conversation recently with a small group of mainline pastors and the conversation naturally turned to church transformation and church growth. When I asked how they measured whether their churches were growing, plateauing, or declining I started getting the typical excuses and defensive posturing I so often hear.

“Numbers aren’t important.”
“Numbers don’t really […]

Numbers Count

I had a conversation recently with a small group of mainline pastors and the conversation naturally turned to church transformation and church growth. When I asked how they measured whether their churches were growing, plateauing, or declining I started getting the typical excuses and defensive posturing I so often hear.

“Numbers aren’t important.”
“Numbers don’t really […]

Three Things I’ve Learned

I was speaking with a pastor in Iowa the other day and shared that I’d just completed forty years in parish ministry. He offered some generous congratulatory sentiments and thanked me for my service. But then he paused and asked me a really great question: “What has God been showing you during that time?”

I […]

The Power of Small

Sometimes we can get so caught up with perpetuating the success of growth and larger congregations that we lose sight of the small things that give the support to be able to sustain that growth. This can be the case with regard to small groups and the growth of the church. As we move […]

Top Five Reasons Why Churches Don’t Grow

When I get called in as a consultant to work with stuck, plateaued, or declining churches I have a couple of things I look for right off the bat. In the vast majority of the cases I discover that their inability to grow, let alone sustain, their membership is caused by one of six […]

Thoughts on Innovation

The following is a personal story that sheds light on innovation.

Way back in 1982 (I know, ancient history) a member of my church staff decided to bring a dozen Apple 2e’s into the Sunday School and start writing curriculum for Bible studies. I was impressed by how quickly the kids took to the new […]

The Path to Becoming a Successful Church Consultant

I don’t know what the deal is, but over the past couple of weeks we’ve been inundated with requests from current pastors who have become interested in becoming church consultants. I’ve responded personally, but I think there’s enough interest that I wanted to set the record straight about what it takes to be a […]

Suicidal

Lemmings are those darling rodents that live in the Arctic Circle and look a bit like a hamster but have a strange suicidal habit. These little guys have a built-in sense of when their numbers are too numerous for their own good. When there are too many of them in a herd and their […]