Blog Archives

Four Reasons Why Seminaries are Ineffective (And What We Can Do About It)

Today’s seminaries are largely ineffective. We know this objectively and subjectively, but it’s hard to put our fingers on why they are ineffective.Wrong-Way-Sign-K-6608

What do I mean when I say that we know this objectively and subjectively? Objectively, we can see that there is a significant negative correlation between seminary education and both church health and church growth. (Christian Schwarz, Natural Church Development, p. 23)

When I say that we know subjectively that seminary education is ineffective, I mean that leaders and lay people—like your uncle Harry—have been complaining about the impact of seminary education upon young pastors for years.

Why are seminaries often ineffective in preparing leaders? There are four reasons.

In a nutshell: seminary education often fails to adequately equip high impact leaders because Read the rest of this entry

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How to Launch a New Multisite Church Campus

Our church is launching its sixth campus later this month in Charleston, IL. Since we’ve done this a few times before, other churches are asking us how you launch a new multisite campus. Here’s how we do it.

  1. Identify a multisite pastor. Our church uses a very leader-centric strategy. We do not start new campuses in the most “logical” places. We do not look at which outlying towns are the largest or where we already have the most members to form a core. We look for a leader with a passion and calling for a certain place and that is where we focus. I’ll write in a future blog on how to identify the right leader. For now, I’ll just give you the key principle. The primary training ground for future campus pastors (and church planters) is leading and multiplying small groups. That is where we look for success and proven leadership.
  2. Start small groups, gather people, and pray. We want to see a few small groups in a town or area before seriously considering a new campus. We also want to see a team of people who are praying for that community and the emerging work there. Besides regular home groups we often

    Read the rest of this entry

How to Do Great Small Group Leader Meetings

To have a thriving small group ministry, you need leaders that are envisioned, encouraged, and motivated. The main way that you give your leaders the vision and encouragement that they need is through great small group leader meetings.

Unfortunately many churches struggle to do these meetings right and consequently their leadership meetings have minimal impact and are poorly attended. Doing great leader meetings isn’t that complicated, however. Here’s my advice on how do do them right…

  1. Provide food. Anytime you offer a meal it significantly increases attendance and fellowship. This involves some cost but it’s a small part of your overall budget and investing in your leaders is the best ministry investment you can make.
  2. Offer childcare. Probably many of your leaders have children. If you offer childcare, you’ll get a lot more of them there. Read the rest of this entry

Why Your Small Group Ministry Is Struggling (and What You Can Do About It)

If your church’s small group ministry is struggling, I think I know why. Based on 8 years as a full-time small group consultant, 12 years as a small group pastor, and statistical research involving the small group ministries over 200 churches, I see three key mistakes that cripple small group system growth. Do any of these apply to your church?

Problem #1: Not offering small group leader training often enough. The most common small group ministry mistake is not offering leader training frequently enough. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to fix. Too many churches offer small group leader training only once or twice a year. Even in a small church, you should offer it at least three times a year. When you offer small group leader training, new leaders get trained and new groups can launch. (Blatant plug: ChurchSmart offers my excellent small group leader training DVDs for just $50.)

Problem #2: Not offering great small group leader team meetings. This problem takes two forms. First, some churches do not offer regular small group leader team meetings. Second, some churches offer them, but they are done wrong and few leaders come. You need to do great leader meetings at least quarterly. Read the rest of this entry