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8 Simple—But Transformational—Words for Your Church


If megachurches are the cruise ships on the Christian ocean, small churches should be the speedboats. We can move faster, maneuver more deftly, squeeze into tighter spaces and have a ton of fun doing it. We just have to choose to see ourselves that way.

Based on that idea, New Small Church will strive to:

What, exactly will that look like? I don’t know. As the great theologian Indiana Jones said, “I’m just making it up as I go along.”

If we knew what we were doing in advance, it wouldn’t be very innovative, would it?

Small Church

If anyone asks, “Why aim a ministry at helping small churches?” my answer would be to pose another question.

Why aren’t there hundreds of ministries aimed at helping small churches?

About 80 percent of the churches in the world are small. And being small is different than being big—in a whole lot of ways. But, by my nonscientific estimate, 80 to 90 percent of pastoral-help books, even those that claim to be written for all churches, are written from a grow-a-big-church perspective, while less than 1 percent are about how to pastor a small church. (The remaining 9 to 19 percent, for all you math geeks, are about planting churches or house churches.)

Sure, there’s some overlap of principles that apply to both small and large churches. But less than 1 percent of resources are designed for that huge chunk of space that only applies to small churches.

We’re not here to whine about the lack of materials that apply to us, but to find, develop and promote resources that do apply to us.

That’s the target New Small Church is aiming for. It’s a sizable target, so I know we can hit it. But I also know there’s no way we can fill it by ourselves.

It’s a big pool. New Small Church isn’t just for my ideas, but yours too. Let’s fill that gap together.


New Small Church is not for everyone sitting in a small church on the weekend. We’re specifically talking to and with leaders.

Why? Because leadership matters.

And we don’t just mean pastors. As anyone who’s attended a small church knows, sometimes the most powerful leader in the church has no title whatsoever. And their influence isn’t always a positive one. (Been there, done that, burned the souvenir T-shirt).

And your leadership role doesn’t have to be within a small church, either. If your leadership affects small churches, we want you in on the conversation. Denominational officials, seminary teachers, Christian authors, bloggers, publishers, mentors and more will find something helpful and can make significant contributions.

So get the word out. If you are in leadership that affects small-church ministry in any way, “Tag, you’re it!”

Let’s start a new conversation.

Can you think of anything else we can do for small churches? Do you have a question or idea for us?  

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Karl is the author of four books and has been in pastoral ministry for almost 40 years. He is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a healthy small church in Orange County, California, where he has ministered for over 27 years with his wife, Shelley. Karl’s heart is to help pastors of small churches find the resources to lead well and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a small church. Karl produces resources for Helping Small Churches Thrive at KarlVaters.com, and has created S.P.A.R.K. Online (Small-Church Pastors Adapt & Recover Kit), which is updated regularly with new resources to help small churches deal with issues related to the COVID-19 crisis and aftermath.